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G Property of the 

Andover, Mass. 


Andover, Massachusetts 


Andover Room 

Greenleaf, Simon, 1783-1853? 

A brief inquiry into the origin and 
principles of Free Masonry. 


Do not take from this room 

Memorial Hall Library 

Andover, Mass. 01810 


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Be it remembered that on this eleventh day of January in the year of 
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty, and the forty fourth year of 
the Independence of the United States of America, Arthur Shirley, of the Dis- 
trict of Maine, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right where- 
of he claims as Proprietor in the words following, riz : — " A Brief Inquiry into 
the Origin and Principles of Free-Masonry. ' Be thou faithful unto death and 
I will give thee a crown of life.' Portland, printed by Arthur Shirley, 1820." 
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of t!.e United Stated, entitled, " An 
Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts 
and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times there- 
in mentioned." And also to an act entitled, " An Act supplementary to an 
act entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning by securing the copies 
of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during 
the times therein mentioned ; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of 
designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints." 

JOHN MUSSEY, Jr. Clerk of the District Cour\ Maine. 

A true copy as of record. 

Attest, J. MUSSEY, Jr. Clerk D. C. M. 


The following pages comprise the substance of a course of offi? 
.cial lectures, delivered in the years 1817 and 1818, to the several 
Lodges of the ninth Masonic District of Massachusetts, over 
which the writer then presided as District Deputy Grand Master, 
He was led, at an early period, to reflect upon the obligations ke 
had regularly taken as a mason, and to believe that they origin- 
ally meant more than, at present, they are generally supposed to 
convey. And every mason, who has seriously considered this 
subject, will concur with him in the opinion that the exposition? 
of our ritual, as they are ordinarily given, are by no means sat- 
isfactory. After having gone through the common course of 
masonic in^traction, there is still a vacuity, to supply which faxr 
ther research is required. 

But the materials of this investigation are pecuHarly scanty* 
For many ages very little indeed was committed to writing, and 
nothing was made public. The earliest collection of ancient 
manuscripts and records, of which we have any account, wa§ 
made in the year 926, at that important epoch in masonic history <, 
the formation of the Grand Lodge of York, under Prince Edwin *j 
out of which collection a constitution and charges were com- 
piled: but as we hear no more of these manuscripts, the conclu- 
sion is that they soon afterwards perished. From this time, as 
we are credibly informed, the fraternity preserved written copies 
of the old constitutions, and without doubt committed something 
more to WTiting. Of *thcse, how^evcr, no vestige remains, exccpi 


the manuscript of King Henry VI.* for which curious fragment 
we are indebted to the care and diligence of the learned Mr. 

There were, indeed, many valuable papers collected and de- 
posited in Roslyn Castle, which might have reflected great light 
on this subject, particularly as it relates to Scottish Masonry ; 
but these, unhappily, were destroyed in the conflagration of th(^ 
chapel, A. D. 1554. 

The next collection worthy of note, by which the history and 
antiquities of our order might have been very clearly illustrated, 
was made by that celebrated antiquary, Elias Ashmole. He 
was born A. D. 1617, and was the founder of the Ashmolean 
museum at Oxford. He was initiated a mason in the year 16 46, 
and was all his life time a most zealous friend and supporter of 
the institution; was indefatigable in the collection of ancient 
manuscripts and coins, and whatever tended to elucidate the an- 
tiquities of the kingdom ; but unfortunately a great proportion of 
them were consumed by fire at the Middle Temple, A. D. 1679. 
His greatest work while living was the history of the Garter. 
His miscellanies, his history of Berks, and his diary, were pub- 
lished after his death, which was in 1692.t 

An attempt to retrieve this disaster was made by George Payne, 
Esq. Grand Master of masons in England, A. D. 1718. "He 
collected many valuable manuscripts on th6 subject of Masonry ; 
and being determined to spare no pains to make himself acquaint- 
ed with the original government of the Craft, he earnestly de- 
sired that the brethren would bring to the Grand Lodge any old 
writings or records concerning the fraternity, to shew the usages 
of ancient times. In consequence of this general intimation, sev- 

*Sec Appendix No. I. tLcmpriere's Bio*. Diet. art. Ashmolo. 


eral old copies of the Gothic constitutions were produced, ar- 
ranged and digested."* 

Hitherto nothing concerning Masonry had been committed to 
the press ; and the old masons seem to have been extremel}'- 
scrupulous on this subject. But the great and irreparable losses 
which had been repeatedly suffered in. the destruction of valu- 
able records and other manuscripts, together with the apparent 
necessity of a revision of the old constitutions, had led the fra- 
ternity to a more serious consideration of the question, and de- 
termined a large majority of them in fav^or of printing. This 
very determination, adopted with the view of preserving what 
remained of the history and records of the institution, had nearly 
caused their destruction. For in the year 1 720, at some of the 
private Lodges, several valuable manuscripts, concerning the 
Lodges, regulations, charges, secrets and usages of masons, par- 
ticularly one written by Mr. Mcholas Stoyie^ the warden under 
Inigo Jones, were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous brethren, 
who were alarmed at the intended publication of the masonic 

Such a compilation, however, was ordei-ed in the year 1721, 
by the Duke of Montagu, Grand Master, and was prepared and 
published in quarto A. D. 1 723, undei" the inspection of the Grand 
Lodge, by Drs. Anderson and Desaguliers. This work is the 
first which masons are known to have printed or published con- 
cerning the fraternity ; and it stands at the foundation of all sub- 
sequent histories of Masonry ; most of which (with the exception 
of Preston's, who has added some new materials) are mere ex- 

*Pre3toii, p. ?06. Anderson, p. 110. 
+Preston, pp. 206, 207. Anderson, p. 11 1 , 

T*. i^REFACL. 

U^acts from Anderson's Constitutions, and from the later records 
:>f the Grand Lodge. 

From this class of copyists should also be excepted Mr. Law- 
kiiE, of Edinburgh, whose History of Free-Masonry is an origin- 
al wbrk of considerable merit. He seems to have been fully 
convinced that Masoriry was not founded by a company of ar- 
chitects, but originated in the religious rites of the ancients j and 
this conviction is manifest in all the early part of his history. 
But his Scottish partialities, or some other cause, have led him 
to disregard the evidence of its early existence in England, and 
td intimate the probability of its introduction into that country 
by way of Scotland, by a mixed fraternity of architects who es- 
tablished themselves at Kilwinning.* 

But Mr. Lawrie was not the first who rejected th6 opinion that 
Masonry was founded by a fraternity of architects. " The Spirit 
of Masonry," several years before this^ had been published with 
the €ipprobation of thfe Grand Lodge of England, under the aus^ 
pices of Lord Petrie, Grand Master, by Mr. Hutchinson, Mas- 
ter of the Barnardcastle Lodge of Concord. In this book, which, 
though soniewhat deficient in method, is yet of inestimable value 
\6 the Craft, the error above noticed is, in various places, par- 
ticularly referred to ; and is refuted by the whole tenor of the 
xvork, which treats oui* order altogether as S. religious institution. 

In the first part of the following inquiry the reader will find a 
few remarks on the various objections which have been urged 
'against our claims to remote antiquity ; carrying the history of 
our Order as far back as we have any good historical evidence 
to support us. This is followed by a consideration of some ©f 

"^Lawrie's Hist. Masonry, pp. 89^91. 


the mistakes which have arisen respecting Masonry and its ritual. 
Some sketches are then given of the principal features of such of 
the ancient mysteries, as are supposed to have formed the origin- 
al stock of modern Masonry, the outlines of which are exhibited ; 
in order to illustrate the nature, and enforce the performance, of 
our present obligations as masons* 

If this attempt should induce some abler brother to give these 
important subjects farther consideration, the writer will have the 
consolation to believe that he has not labored in vain. 

Portland, Jan. 1, 1820. 




During the last century the origin and nature of Free-MasonY*y 
have been the objects of anxious investigation. The inquiry 
has been pursued with a laudable vigor and perseverance ; but 
too frequently with a temper highly unfavorable to the acquisition 
of truth. Perhaps however,the present time may not be consider d 
inauspicious to fair and dispassionate examination. The numbers 
of the initiated are increased far beyond all former experience ; — 
regular Lodges are established in all parts of the civilized : 
the resentments excited by calumny against the Order, ev i: m 
our own times, have subsided; — and the Craft, no longer ;^j:- re^ 
hensive of danger from the tempests of war and atheism, and re- 
volution, are generally disposed to examine more deeply the 
foundation of their venerable temple — to repair its dilapida- 
tions — and to restore its primitive purity and splendor. 

In the variety of opinions which at different times have been 
entertained respecting otir institution, few traits of similarity are 
discernible. They have varied with the fashion of the day. 
At one time we have been regarded as a company of mere arti- 
zans, originating but recently, in Great-Britain ; meeting in stated 
clubs, for the cultivation of good fellowship, and intent solely on 
promoting the local interests of our particular craft. At 
other times, brethren of our own fraternity have injudiciously 
advanced the most extravagant pretensions to antiquity ; repre- 
senting our order as founded by " Grand Master Adam," and as 
having been a " fellow traveller with Time." Others have rudely 
assailed us as an extensive and most dangerous conspiracy, con- 
cealing, under architectural symbols, the worst of poisons :-^bent. 


with insatiate rancor, on the destruction of religion and social 
happiness ; — our " banners stolen from the altar of God," and 
our " allies congregated from the abysses of Hell." 

The violent attacl^s of this last class of assailants have already 
been ably repelled. Indeed it is not a little remarkable that the 
charge of Illuminism should ever have been fixed, for a moment, 
on our institution ; and still more astonishing that any men, aci 
quainted with the history and plans of that clan of moral ban- 
ditti, could have the effrontery to advance such charges against 

But the vindication of our order from the slander of its opea 
enemies, is a task, at all times more easy than to heal the wounds 
inflicted by its friends. For undoubtedly the advancement of 
unfounded pretensions to primaeval antiquity has contributed es- 
sentially to impair the credibility of our legitimate claims. The 
world would probably have been content enough to refer our 
origin, upon slight evidence, to the time of the crusades ; — and 
upon any tolerably well founded probabilities, even to the build- 
ing of the first temple at Jerusalem ; — but soberly to demand as- 

*The secret papers of the inutninati themselves, appear, when examined, 
to carry in them a complete refutation of this calumny. " The great stength,'? 
say they, '* of our order, lies in its concealment. Let it never appear in any 
place in its own name ; but always covered by an t her name and another oc- 
cupation. None is fitter than the lower degrees of Masonry ; — the public is ac- 
customed to it, expects little of it, and therefore takes little notice of it." — 
[Vid. Dr. Payson's Proofs of the existence, &c. of Illuminism, p. 105.] — So, 
also, Weishaupt, the father of that nefarious sect in Germany, who was not 
made a Mason till the year 1777, whic'; was two years after he founded Illu- 
minism, gives the Regent of it these secret instructions ; — '' It is very proper to 
make your inferiors believe, without telling them the retil state of the case, that 
all other secret societies, particularly that of Freemasonry^ are secretly direct- 
ed by us."— [Vid. Dr. Payson's Proofs cf the existence, &c. of Illuminism, p. 
123.] And it seems they did make many of their inferiors in all Burope and in A- 
menca hehev ,though exactly contrary to the fact, that the Lodges of Freema- 
sons were not ooly sf-.cretly directed by, but entirely composed of, llluminati. 
But if these papers are genuine, which there is no reason to doubt, for they are 
published as such by one wo does not appear to be a friend to our institution, 
.this false pretence of union, so unblushingly held out by the llluminati, en- 
tirisly negatives the real/i^ of any share, on our part, in their councils. 


^nt, without a tittle of proof, to the brotherhood of Nimrod, 
Enoch, and Tubal-Cain, was demanding too much, even of ere- 
duHtj itself. So much fable has been mixed with the narrative, 
that many have been disposed to disbelieve the whole. 

Less than a century has elapsed, since our English brethren 
undertook to trace the history of the craft, through operative 
architecture, to the first parents of the human family. They 
related that the principles of the Royal art were communicated 
from God to Adam, and by him to his children ; that Tubal-Cain 
was eminent in knowledge of its mysteries ; and that " Grand 
Master Enoch" brought them to greater perfection, and perpetu-. 
ated them on pillars of brass and marble ;* and hardly a distin- 
guished personage in the Old Testament had the fortune to es- 
cape enrolment among the patrons or active Grand Masters of 
ancient Masonry. The uninitiated, disgusted, as was natural to 
expect, at such extravagant pretensions, boldly asserted that the 
order originated in England, in the reign of Edward III. about 
the year 1357. This Prince, said they,t resolving to enlarge 
and beautify the Castle of Windsor, the place of his birth, issued 
writs to the SheiifFs of the several counties,^ commanding them, 
under severe penalties, to send each a certainnumber of Masons 
to Windsor, at a day appointed. The King's precepts w^ere obey^ 
ed, and the work was begun ; but numbers of the workmen dying 
of the plague, and others absconding, new writs v/erc issued to 
the counties, requiring them to send farther supplies ; and sever- 
ities were threatened to those who should presume to harbor any 
of the absconding workmen. It was then, they said, that these 
masons entered into a combination not to work unless at higher 
wages ; — that they agreed upon tokens to know each other ;-^ 
that they resolved not to work unless free, and on their own 

* This story of the pillars of Sethis children in the land of Seriad, is derivect 
from Josephus, (Ant. 1. ii. 3.; whose account is refuted by Stilling-fleet, and 
shewn very probably to have been taken from rvTanetho^^s fabulous relation, 
Orjgincs Sacrae, pp. 36—39. 

f Vid. Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1740. 

&. Hume's England, vol. 2. p. 490. cites Ashmole'.s Hist. Garter, p. i£g 


terms; — and that thenceforward they called themselves Fr«fi 

Others, and among them some masons too, being still impress.- 
ed with the belief that the institution was at first an association 
of operative builders, have adopted the opinion that its com- 
mencement was to be found in a fraternity of architects in the 
1 5th century. After the capture of Constantinople and conquest 
of the Eastern Empire by the Turks, A. D. 1453, a number of 
Greek architects took refuge in Italy. These, uniting with jsome 
Italians, French, Germans and Flemings, aud forming a society, 
soon attracted notice and patronage by their superior skill, and 
obtained, by charters from the Popes, the exclusive right of 
erecting religious edifices. They styled themselves /ree masons, 
and travelled from one nation to another, as they found churches 
or castles to be built. Their government was perfectly regular. 
When they were about to rear an edifice, they first constructed 
near it a camp of huts for their own residence ; a surveyor com- 
manded in chief, and every tenth man was a warden.* 

No argument, however, in favor of this opinion, can be drawn 
from the fact that Lodges of masons, almost immemorially, have 
assisted in laying the foundation stones of public buildings. It 
is not improbable that the custom may have commenced with 
these Greek architects. It maj^, indeed, have been of somewhat 
earlier date, and derived from the practice of the Dionysian Ar- 
tificers ; but in either case it does not seem to decide any thing. 
For the order of masonry, patronizing the arts and sciences, and 
particularly geometry and architecture, would naturally attract 
to itself almost the whole body of the professors of those arts 
and sciences ; and these, regarding more these particular fea- 
tures of the order than its general spirit, would be led to perform, 
in their character of Free-masons,those ceremonies which belong- 
ed rather to their calling as operative artizans; so that in time, 
that probably came to be regarded as appropriate to Masonry, 
which originally was appropriate to its members, not in their 

* Vid. Henry's Hist. G. Brit. vol. 8, p. 273. Reo^s Cyclopedia, Art. " Ma- 
sons." Lawrie's Hist. Masonry, p. 55. 


character of masons, but in that of their employment as builders. 
If however, this custom, is of still earlier date, it may be referred 
to the religious character of the institution. For the principal 
and almost the sole public buildings being anciently sacred to 
religious uses, the laying of the corner stone would of course 
be regarded as a religious solemnity, at which none but those 
immediately connected with the service of the temple would be 
permitted to officiate. That such was really the original char- 
acter of Masonry, we shall hereafter attempt to show. And it 
will appear, on examination, that much confusion has crept into 
masonic history and tradition, by confounding our order with the 
travelling fraternities of architects of comparatively modern date. 
Its reputation for science, and the high privileges it possessed, 
invited them to become members, while their professional pecu- 
liarities imparted to Masonry an operative character to which it 
had never advanced the least pretensions, and which was rather 
foreign from its original design. 

But aside from the internal evidence v.hich our mj^steries 
themselves furnish, there is good proof that the secrets of Ma«- 
sonry never were confined solely to architects by profession. 
The records of the craft shew a long and illustrious roll of Royal 
and Noble Grand Masters, who have honored Masonry with their 
protection.* Nor were these merely nominal members, osten- 
tatiously lending their names ; since the records of the oldest 
Lodges in Ehgland and Scotland plainly prove that gentlemen 
of fortune and of rank in Church and State have for ages been 
regularly initiated into our mysteries, and have become active 
members of the institution. Nor is this the only evidcnde. 
There is extant, in Hay's Manuscripts in the Advocates' library 
at Edinburgh, the record of an ancient charter of the Craft, 
which recites that " for sa meikle as from adge to adge it has 
been observed amongst us that the Lairds of Roslyn has ever 
been patrons and protectors of us and our privileges," — and 
proceeds to authorize the then Lord of Roslyn to purchase 8 

* Lawrie, p. 102. Anderson a- Preston passim. App^ndiK: No. II. 


hew recognition and confirmation of that right from the king.'"' 
This charter is without any date ; but it is doubtless very an- 
cient, being referred to as an old deed in the subsequent 
charter of renewal in the year 1630»t This latter instru" 
tnent states that the former lords of Roslyn had from time to 
time obtained charters from several kings of Scotland, confirm- 
ing their jurisdiction over the masonic fraternity ; but that these 
muninients and records were '' consumed in ane flame of fire 

within the castle of Roslyn, anno ." Now the only calamity 

of this sort, known to have happened to Roslyn Castle, was the 
conflagration in the year 1554, by the troops of Henry VIII. 
king of England ; and therefore the existence and general tenor 
of the papers and records destroyed by the fire were pro- 
bably well known to those who, in the year 1630, renew- 
ed the grant. These facts confirm the accounts of those histo* 
rians who relate that the original grant or charter of jurisdiction 
over the Lodges of Scotland was made by king James II. cf that 
kingdom, to St. Clair, the great Earl of Caithness and Orkney, 
who founded the chapel of Roslyn Castle about the year 1441.| 
The order must have flourished in Scotland a long time before 
this ; for otherwise we cannot imagine how its numbers and its 
consequence should have attracted the notice of the king, nor 
why the Grand Mastership of such ah institution should be deem- 
isd a gift worthy the acceptance of so distinguished a nobleman. 
And hence also there is derived additional credit to the assertion 
of old writers on Masonry, who affirm that king James I. of Scot- 
land, who died A. D. 1437, settled a yearly revenue of 4/. Scots, 
to be paid by every Master Mason to a Grahd Master, to be 
chosen by the Grand Lodge and approved by the crown.§ If" 
an institution so Worthy of royal patronagie and so dignified as 
to excite the Ambition of nobles to preside over its mysteries, had 
been of recent origin, its first foundation,or at least its introduction 
Into Scotland, would have been noted by the historians and an* 

* Laxrrie p. 297. t Ibid 300. 

i Andersoxi, p. 89, '^ Ibid p. 8«. 


Tialists of that kingdom. But as no such record is to be found, 
the conclusion is irresistible that the order was of early and un- 
certain date, and that it was originally venerable and august, or 
had acquired its elevated and imposing character by impercep- 
tible degrees, in long progression of time. 

It ought not to be said that the Scotch masons at this time 
were only a company of artizans, peaceably enough working at 
their trade, and putting themselves, for greater security, under the 
protection of the Earl of Orkney ; for the contrary may fairly 
be inferred from what has been already stated. Mr. Lawrie, 
however, has given some foundation to this surmise, by attribu- 
ting the introduction of Masonry into Scotland to the company 
of travelling architects, who migrated thither under the protection 
of the Romish Church, and founded the abbey of Kilwinning^ 
about the year 1140.* But architects of this sort were per- 
sonally concerned in the erection of public edifices, and their 
fraternities flourished in great prosperity and success, many 
years after this period ; and they probably were most numerous 
and in the greatest repute in the latter part of the fifteenth century. 
Had the Scotch Lodges been composed of these materials, there 
can be doubt but operative workmen, and eminent too, might 
have been found among them. But it appears from a manuscript 
memoir of the 'house of Douglas, preserved in the library of the 
f xulty of Advocates at Edinburgh, that the founder of Roslyn 
Chapel, (about A. D. 1441) ''caused artificers to be brought 
from other regions -and forraig'ne kingdomes, and Caused dayly to 
be abundance of all kinds of workmen present."! This fcLnder, 
as we have seen, was St. Clair, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, 
and Grand Master of Masons in Scotland ; and it seems highly 
improbable that he should have incurred the expense and trouble 
of sending into ^' forraigne kingdomes" for craftsmen, if he could 
have called them from the Lodges under his own command at 
home; and equally improbable that such could not be found in 
Scotland, if Masonry there was an operative profession, intro 

* Hisf . Masonry, pp. 56 — 89 t Rees' Cyclopedia, art. Roslym 


duced by the architects of Kilwinning ; especially as societies ol 
this fraternity still existed and wrought at their trade, in other 
parts of Europe* 

How long Masonry had flourished in Scotland prior to the 
year 1437, we can only conjecture. We are warranted in the 
-conclusion that it was ancient and venerable ; but history is silent 
on this topic, and there are no further traditions deserving our 
regard. But in England we can trace it still earlier. A record 
of the reign of Edward IV. speaks of the order in that kingdom 
in the year 1434, describing it as "the company of Masons, be- 
ing otherwise termed Freemasons, of aimtient staunding and good 
reckoning,^''* And the Latin register of Molart, prior of Canter- 
bury, proves the existence of a Grand Lodge at that place, A. D. 

Convinced, by this body of evidence, that Masonry is of ancient 
date, yet unwilling to admit our claims to Jewish, Grecian or 
Druid origin ; our opponents, as a last resort, assert that the in- 
stitution was founded in Palestine, during the ages of the crusades, 
and probably in the twelfth century.t 

This assertion is certainly true as it relates to some of the or- 
ders of knighthood, which have a masonic cast of character — as 
the Knights Templars, Knights of the Red Cross. Knights of 
Malta, &c. and it may or may not be correct as it respects some 
of the higher, or, as they are termed, ineffable degrees of Mason- 
ry. But no statement of this kind can be true of that part of 
Masonry which comprises at present the three first degrees. 
The ritual of the more recent degrees is clearer and better de- 
fined. It has all the minuteness of character which belongs to 
institutions of more modern date. These degrees were evident- 
ly formed by men professing the religion of Jesus Christ ; and 
they savor of the theology and the prevailing legends of the times 
which gave them birth. But the Masonry of the three first degrees 
has not that distinctness of type which marks the others. Like 

• Anderson p. 75. Preston p 156, note. See also Preston p. 175, wo/e. 
t Westminster Magazine for 1'776, quoted in Hardie^s new Free-Mason's 
Monitor, preface, viii. 


the remains of some vast edifice, of unknown sacredness, which 
has been beaten by the storms of ages unnumbered, its general 
outline and its great proportions remain, while its lighter finish'^ 
ings are no longer to be discerned. The pedestal and the col- 
umn still exist, but ruthless time has destroyed the characteristic 
ornaments of the entablature. It is still recognized and admired 
as a venerable specimen of architecture, but the particular order 
is unknown. There is nothing to be found in ancient Masonry 
that has any relation to monkish legends, nor to chivalry, nor 
to crusades. It breathes another spirit. Its traditions have no 
exclusive and necessary reference to war, nor to the second 
building of Solomon's temple. They are more easily and natu- 
rally referred, as will hereafter appear, to the religious ceremo'^ 
nies of earlier ages. 

And besides this evidence, which is alone sufficient to satisfy a 
craftsman, there is historical proof that in the year 926, long be^ 
fore the first crusade was projected, a Grand Lodge was sum^ 
moned to meet at York in England, by Prince Edwin, Grand 
Master of masons in that kingdom. And the old constitutions 
add, that " they brought with them many old writings and records 
of the craft, some in Greeks some in Latin, some in French and 
other languages ; and from the contents thereof they framed the 
Constitutions of the English Lodges, and made a law for them« 
selves, to preserve and observe the same in all time com- 
ing," &c.* 

This tradition is placed beyond reasonable doubt by the fact 
that the Grand Lodge has from time immemorial been holden at 
the city of York, has been styled Ancient York Masons, and has 
invariably traced its existence to this period. That appellation 
is well known and universally respected in Europe and America : 
and it has always been considered as designating the regular 
successors of those brethren who met near York, at Auldby, 
which is said by historians to have been the residence of Prince 
Edwin. That York was deemed the original seat of masonic 

^ Anderson p. 64, Appendix No, III 


government, upon the principles by which Lodges have since 
been subordinate to a Grand Lodge, is farther evident from 
this circumstance, that no other place has ever pretended to claim 
it, and that the whole fraternity have, at various times, acknow- 
ledged allegiance to the authority estabhshed there*. 

It is evident from this that Masonry existed in England early 
in the tenth century. It was considered in the reign of Edward 
IV. as an honorable institution, " of auntient staundinge and good 
reckoning." And in the year 926 it had the king's brother for 
its Grand Master. It is also apparent that it had then existed in 
England a long time. The object of the Grand Lodge summon- 
ed to meet at York seems to have been to renovate the ancient 
and decaying order ; to collect the various scattered records? 
charters, and histories of the craft, and preserve them from ap- 
prehended destruction ; and to re-eiiact a code of laws for the gov- 
ernment of the whole fraternity. It is farther manifest that the 
institution was familiar to the Greeks, Romans and French ; or 
to the learned men in England, versed in the languages of those 
nations ; for the records brought by the brethren from various 
parts of the country to York, were written in Greek and in Latin 
and in French — and the institution must then have been very an- 
cient, since these records were so old that danger seems to have 
been apprehended lest they should be lost, by reason of their 
extreme a^e. It is not improbable, if we consider the state of 
science and religion in the ages of which we are speaking, that 
Masonry at that day vv^as known and possessed by the men of 
learning. Science, it is true, was at a low ebb in Europe, 
and the little learning in existence was chiefly confined to the 
cloister. The arts, and especially the art of building, were yet 
in their infancv in England, as appears from some vestiges still 
remaining. Yet Masonry, it seems, had flourished a long time, 
and was even decaying. It is not to be supposed that the clergy 
of that period would connect themselves with a company of mere 
^rtizans ; for if Masonry was ever exclusively devoted to th(. 

* Fre3ton,p. 142—3, note. 


erection of edifices, the state of architecture obUges us to conclude 
it must have been so at that time ; and the common people, after 
all their l^oasted liberties, (which, however, were greater than in 
anj other part of Europe) were ignorant in the extreme, and 
little better than slaves. For the same reasons we cannot sup- 
pose that a prince of the blood royal would have condescended 
to place himself at the head of such a fraternity. He w^ould more 
probably have followed the example of the clergy, whatever that 
jnay have been, as their power^was then very great with the 
multitude, and they had a vast ascendancy over the minds even 
of kings. The history and manners of those ages will also con- 
vince us that the sciences composed but a small part of the studies 
of the monks ; and that with the exception of a little Roman lite- 
rature, and still less Grecian, their studies were chiefly confined 
to cabalistic theology. And hence we are inclined to suspect 
that ancient Masonry possessed something of a religious as well 
as of a scientific character ; and that, if it .ever v/as an operative 
profession, its working tools had long been laid aside. 

If these conjectures are well founded, there is hence derived 
additional credit to the old tradition respecting the brotherhooci 
of St. Alban. This man was originally a British knight, profess- 
ing the religion of his ancestors, which was that of the Druids. 
He v/as afterwards converted to Christianity, and suffered mar- 
tyrdom A. D. 303, in the Diocletian persecution. An old manu^ 
script which was destroyed with many others, A. D. 1 720, said 
to have been in the possession of Nicholas Stone, a curious sculps 
tor under the famous Inigo Jones, contained the following par- 
ticulars : — " St. Alban loved Masons well, and cherished them 
much, and made their pay right good ; for he gave them ijs, per 
week, and iijd. to their cheer; whereas, before that time, in all 
the land, a mason had but a penny a day, and his meat, until Sto 
Alban mended it. And he gott them a charter from the king and 
his counsell for to hold a general counsell, and gave itt to name 
assembiie. Thereat he was himselfe, and did heipe to make 
Masons, and gave them good charges."* 

* Preston p. 136, note. 


It appears that at this period masons were cherished by the 
king, and had privileges granted them by royal charter, and a 
regular pecuniary allowance for their support. But such was not 
the usage of that day respecting any other than religious institu- 
tions. Nor is it probable from the analogy afforded by any oth- 
er traits in the character of that age or other facts in its history, 
that a pious man like St. Alban would have exerted himself so 
greatly, or employed so much of his time, in favor of any object 
not connected, in some eminent respect, with the advancement of 
religion or the amelioration of the moral condition of society. 
Nor is any opposite inference to be drawn from the circumstance 
that the craft superintended the erection of edifices ; since 
these were mostly for religious uses, which it was the invariable 
custom to consecrate, with solemn ceremonies, when completed ; 
and the clergy of that day, not backward to extend their influence 
and control over subjects not directly connected with the duties 
of their profession, would naturally claim to lay i\ie foundations^ 
and direct the progress, of those works whose cape stone they 
were afterwards to bring forth. 

Here we must terminate the chain of what may be called his- 
torical evidence of the existence of Masonry. Beyond this we 
have nothing which may be regarded as direct proof, though 
we have strong internal and collateral testimony, and some an- 
cient and highly credible traditions.* These traditions, and the 
concurrent accounts of those who have WTitten on masonic histo- 
ry, represent the order as flourishing in England at a very early 
period ; long, indeed, before architecture appears to have been, 
extensively known, even to the learned, much less to have been 
considered as a distinct profession ; — that the greatest men of the 
day were members of the institution : — that the Druids knew and 
practised its rites ; — and that its mysteries have always been re- 
garded as sacred and profound. These considerations prepare 
us to renew our search for its vestiges among the institutions of 
more ancient times. 

* See Preston pp. 133—140 


But before we proceed to examine the mysteries of the ancients, 
it will be necessary to make some preliminary inquiries into the 
character of our own, and to attempt the removal of some exist- 
ing errors concerning it- 
One of the most common mistakes relating to our institution, is 
the popular belief that it originated in some combination of build^ 
ers, and was exclusively confined to architectural pursuits, as we 
have noticed in the preceding observations. This belief has 
been very general, even among masons themselves. But it will 
appear, I think, that our order had a higher original, notwith- 
standing the agency and even oversight which it has undeniably 
had, in the erection of the grandest edifices in the world. The 
rules of geometry, proportion, and numbers were well known to 
the sages of Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Chaldea, Persia, India and 
Britain ; and when any architectural work of great public utility 
was contemplated, without doubt these learned men were con- 
sulted as to the design, and superintended the execution. Nor 
is it a matter of surprize that in the decay of tlie pagan religions, 
the advancement of science, and the consequent separation of 
professions, it happened that architecture chiefly fell to the 
patronage of our fraternity, to vrhich it imparted many of itii 
peculiarities. But upon the supposition Masonry was a fra- 
ternity^f artizans, it is ditricult to account for most, and indeed 
any of our mysteries. The art of building is so plain as not to 
require any concealment of its rules. Nor is it easy to conceive 
of any secrecy, of which it was susceptible. The solemnity of 
Masonry must have had relation to some more important objects 


Ihan the piling up or preparing of masses of stone.* Every mas6» 
must be struck with the truth that our secrets do not relate to 
anj knowledge we derive in philosophy or science. Whatever 
lights we gain from Masonry on these subjects we are perfectly 
at liberty to impart to the world. Our order now professes to 
teach the principles of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, mu- 
sic, geometry, astronomy, — to lay the foundations of good mor- 
als and to illustrate the philosophy of the human mind. These 
things were doubtless once taught in lodges of masons, and prob* 
ably in them alone. — But knowledge is now diffused more equally 
through the whole mass of society ; and for many generations, 
even since Universities have been opened for instruction, masonic 
lodges have' ceased to teach what might with more facility be 
acquired elsewhere. Though 

" The schooVs lone porch, with revfrend mosses gray, 
" Just tells the pensive traveller where it lay ;" — 

yet the altar still remains, and a priesthood, to offer daily sacri- 
fice to the Lord of all. But whatever of these branches of 
learning was once taught by masons, there was no express in- 
junction to conceal it. A mason was at libierty to make others 
as learned in the liberal sciences as he had himself become. 

But still, at the very threshold of our mysteries, an oath of 
secrecy, extremely minute in all its details, and tremendous in 
its sanctions, has from time immemorial been exacted of every 
candidate. It is not to be supposed that such an oath had no 
foundation at first. It would argue a profligacy incredible, to 
invent one so sacred and inviolable merely for the sake of swear- 
ing it. Nor does such a solemnity comport with the design or 
practices of any association of architects whatever. For what 
is there, or what could there ever have been in the art of build- 
ing, or in the whole circle of science merely, that could require 
or even warrant so appalling an obligation ? Neither does it a- with the present state of the institution. For Masonry har- 
bc^rs no treasons nor blasphemies. Its designs at the present 

^Hutchinson, pp. 123, 125 


iay are not only innocent but laudable. It requires us to fear 
God and promote the happiness of man. The inventors of this 
oath, then, must have most impardonably trifled with the awful 
solemnity of such an engagement, if, at the time of its institution, 
there did not exist a cause, proportionate, at least in some de- 
gree, to the precautions used against its violation.* What this 
cause was, we can determine only by probable conjecture. But 
We may presume that it must have originated in some great per- 
sonal danger, if not death, apprehended to the members of the 
institution from the populace, if their secrets wxre laid open to 
the world. It may not be proper to pursue this topic, in this 
place, any farther ; but every Mason, by reflecting on these 
hints, will satisfy his own mind, that at the first constitution of our 
fraternity, its great object was not solely the advancement of the 
arts, still less of architecture alone. 

That the true and original import of many observances and 
ceremonies among us should now be lost or incorrectly account- 
ed for, is in no wise surprizing. It is hardly to be supposed that 
an insitituton which has existed so many ages, and passed from 
Jewish and Pagan into Christian hands ; — whose ritual Is pre- 
served only in oral tradition, and this transmitted through almost 
all languages, living and dead, should still preserve all its primi- 
tive features. It is almost inevitable that foreign words should, 
by degrees, become confounded with other words of nearly sim- 
ilar sound in the language into which they are introduced ; and 
losing thus their primitive signification, they no longer furnish 
any instructive allusions, but rather become fruitful sources of 
farther errors. This is a misfortune peculiar to our society, 
and exceedingly embarrasses all our investigations. Thus as 
we shall see more at large hereafter, the translation of the 
mysteries^llpm Egypt to Croiona, a city of Grecia Magna, by 
Pythagoras, (or Peiagore, as tlic French pronounced his name) 
our Enghsh brethren, prior to the reign of Henry VJ. following 
the mistake which beyond doubt was caused by French sounds 

* Fid. ''• The way to words by iJnngs^ or an altempi at the rdriewd ofUit an- 
timt Celtic^'' m a voL of tracts in the library of Harvard College. 



upon an English car, attributed to one Peter Gower, who was sup- 
posed to have settled at Groton^ in England ! Hence also the term 
Masonry, the very name of our institution, has been a source of 
the error we are speaking of; — an error as extensive as the En- 
glish language. Why, it has been asked, are we styled masons^ 
or builders, if architecture was not at least our principal employ- 
ment? We answer that the words Mason and Masonry are but 
corruptions of other words having no relation to edifices.* Ma- 
son is by some derived from the Greek words mao and soan, [qumro 
sahum,'] I desire life, or salvation — and supposed to allude to the 
situation of the candidate during some period of the ancient cer- 
emonies. The term Masonry seems but a slight variation of the 
Greek mesouranco, [esse in medio cos/?',] to be in the midst of heaven. 
This idea is corroborated by the circumstance that the Druids, 
of whose rites the most perfect remains, now extant, are believ- 
ed to exist among the ceremonials of masons,! used the Greek 
alphabet, whenever they committed any thing to writing.^ 

There are others, however, who derive the modern term Mason 
from the ancient Ma'fs-on, a devotee of the goddess of Justice, or 
of the creative power ; for such the adherents to Druidism were 
formerly denominated. — They were doubtless perfectly ac- 
quainted with the whole mythology of the Greeks and Asiatics, 
which they preserved in almost patriarchal purity, entirely un- 
mixed with the gross and disgusting fables of later times. With 
the Greeks, Mam was the deity of perfect rectitude and eternal 
wisdom ; — of that Wisdom who presided in the creation of the 
universe ; — whom " the Lord possessed in the beginning of his 
way, before his works of old."§ Maya, among the Hindoos, 
represented the general attracting power ; and some Hindoo 
scholars explain the word to mean " the first inclination of the 
Godhead to diversify himself," such is their phrase^||^" by cre- 
ating worlds." She is thus feigned to be the mother of universal 
nature, and of all the inferior gods.lF ^ It is easj- to discern in these 

tConstitudons, Load. ed. 1767, p. 72. ijiHutchinson, p. 15. 

JPiov. viii, 22. ITRees' Cycloped. art. Maya. 


fables some indistinct and imperfect traditionary knowledge of 
the Great Supreme, to whom the Druids paid a higher and 
purer worship as the invisible Creator of all things. The Greek 
mythology was probably more generally known and adopted in 
France, than in England. At least we must so conclude from 
the fact, that more distinct traces of it remain in the former coun- 
try than in the latter. And it is highly probable that it was in 
France that the term Mays-on was first applied to the worship- 
pers of Maia^ the First Cause. In this case the on stands for 
homme, man, as it does in the politest French of the present day ; 
on dit for homme dit — r, as anciently Preudon for Preudhomme, 
as may be seen on the tomb of one of the high constables of 
France ; or, as in our own language, Parson, for I aretch-hom- 
?Me, or Parish-homme,^ 

In view of either of these derivations, a mason may be regsr ^- 
ed as an aspirant after immortality, and a devoted zuor shipper oj ij.e 
God of JVisdom and Truth, zvhose throne is in the centre if 

A similar mistake has arisen from the word Shibboleth, which 
is found in some ancient traditions of Masonry ; and which Las 
occasioned the belief that our order was once exclusively Jewish. 
But this word was probably the corruption of another, the origi- 
nal of which is to be sought in the mythology of the Greeks and 
Romans. " The name Lapis, or, as others write, Lapideus, was 
given to Jupiter by the Romans, who conceived that juramentum 
per Jovem Lapidem, an oath by Jupiter Lapis, was the most obli- 
gatory oath; and it is derived either from the stone which was 
presented to Saturn by his wife Ops, who said it was Jupiter ; 
in which sense Eusebius says that Lapis reigned in Crete ; or 
from the flint stone which, in making bargains, the swearer held 
in his hand, and said, ' If knowingly I deceive, so let Diespiter, 
saving the city and the capitol, cast me away from all that is 
good, as I cast away this stone.' Whereupon he threw the stone 

* This derivation is from '* The way to words by things," &c. before 


away."* Hence the origin of the term Sibolithon^ (colo lapidem, 
compounded of sibo^ colo^ and lithos^ lapis ;) applied among our 
ancient brethren, as a testimony of retaining their original vow 
uninfringed, and their first faith with the brotherhood uncor- 

The candidate, advancing to the third or highest grad€ of an- 
cient Masonry, was taught to pronounce his own sentence, as 
confessional of the imperfection of the second stage of his pro- 
fession, and as probationary of the exalted degree to which he 
aspired ; in this Greek distich Tumbonchoeo^ [struo tumulum,'] ' I 
prepare my sepulchre' — ' I make my grave in the pollutions of 
the earth' — ' I am under the shadow of death/ — This distich be- 
came afterwards corrupted among us, and an expression assumed 
its place, scarcely similar in sound, and entirely inconsistent with 
Masonry.! And perhaps from this arose the claim which some 
masons have advanced to the brotherhood of Tubal-Cain, which 
has exposed the fraternity to not a few ludicrous observations. 

These errors have been confirmed by the frequent allusions 
in old masonic books, to the Giblim, or stone-cutters, employed at 
the erection of King Solomon's temple ;J and from the great 
stress laid on their supposed occupation of hewing stone. The 
word Gihlim is derived from the name Giblos, or Byblos, a city 
of Phoenicia, lying between Sidon and Orthosia, whose inhabit- 
ants were celebrated for their dexterity in cutting stone or wood, 
as well as for their skill in shipbuilding.§ King Hiram employ- 
ed principally the people of this place in preparing material* 
for the Jewish temple, as may be collected from 1. Kings v. 18, 
where the word which our translators have rendered stone- 
squares, in the Hebrew is Giblim, and in the Septuagint is Biblioi^ 
or men of Byblus ; the former using the Hebrew, the latter the 
Greek name rf the place. The same ditference may be observ- 

*Took'^''3 Pantheon, quoted by Hutchinson, p. 129, note 
t flufchinson, p. 114. note. :j: Anderson, p. 11. 

^^ingfs V. 18. Fzek; xxvii. 9. J"?h. xiii. 5. The people of this city are, 
said to have een ?l;e original louuders of 'I'yre — See constitutions, London 
edition, 1<67. p. 14. 


ed in Ezek. xxvii. 9. where our translation, following the He- 
brew, styles them " the ancients of Gebal,'^'' while in the Septua- 
gint they are called " the elders of Biblus.^^ 

This city was seated near the river of Adonis. Its inhabi- 
tants were famous for their devotion to the Adonia, or myste- 
ries of Adonis, who was said to have been slain by a wild boar 
in Mount Libanus, from which the river descends. Its waters 
are annually red like blood, occasioned by a red earth abound^- 
ing aear its sources, which in the rainy season is washed in great 
quantities into the river. At this period they lamented Adonic, 
believing the waters then to be colored with his blood.* 

The modern name of this place is written Gebileh., or Djehlla. 
which is probably but a slight departure from the ancient pro- 

From the preceding observations the reflecting craftsman will 
perceive how slight is the foundation for supposing that Masonry 
was ever an operative association — or that she served her just 

* Vid. Calmel's Diet. voc. Adonis, Byblos, Giblos. This deity is the same 
which in scripture is called Tammuz, Ezek. viii. 14. The rites of his worship 
" seem to be precisely the same with those decribed in the Orphic Argponauti- 
ca where we learn that these awful meetings beg;an, first of all, by an oaik of 
secrecy^ administered to all who were to be initiated. Tien the ceremonies 
commenced by a description of chaos, or abyss, and the confusion attendant 
upon it ; then the poet describes a person, as a man of justice, and mentions 
the orgies^ or funeral lamentations^ on account of this just person ; and those of 
Arkite A'hent [i. e. Divine Providence] these were celebrated by night. In, 
these mysteries, after the attendants had for a long time bewailed the death 
of this just person, he was at length understood to be rest 'red to lije^ to have 
experienced a resurrection ; signified by the re-admission of light. On this the 
priest adiressed the company, saying, '• Comfort yourselves, al! ye who have 
been partakers of the mysteries of the Deity thus preserved ; for we shall now 
enjoy some respite from our labors." To which were added these words, '•'• I 
have escaped a sad calamity, and my lot is greatly mended." The people 
answered by the invocation, "Hail to the Dove I the restorer of light I'- 
These ceremonies are supposed by the author of Fragment No. 317, 3 Calm. 
Diet. 406, to allude to Noah, a just person— intombed for a time, i. e. in the 
ark— restored from a bad to abetter condition— to light and life from this float- 
ing grave. The iatelligent mason will be led by Uieso hints to farther re- 


and lawful time in the actual working of wood, brass and stone ; 
and at length, by some sudden efibrt, or some silent and imper- 
ceptible revolution, achieved her freedom., and retired from 
labor and toil. 

It should be farther remembered that in early times the learn- 
ing of the age was in the hands of a few, and was concealed un- 
der hieroglyphics and mysterious allusions. A tolerable profi- 
ciency in philosophy and science was no despicable attainment. 
Its honors were the result of 1 ng and painful application, ac- 
companied by irreproachable morals ; and were conferred in dif- 
ferent degrees, after a due term of probation. The knowledge thus 
acquu-ed was altogether concealed from the vulgar. It was 
identified with the religion of the country, and remained in the 
hands of its ministers. One of the earliest efforts of the human 
mind, has ever been to acquire some knowledge of its Creator ; 
and searching after him in all his works, it is natural that the first 
acquisitions of man, in the infancy of letters, should have strong 
characteristics of religion. Hence were united in the same per- 
son, at the same time, the various characters of physician, law- 
giver, priest and philosopher; that of the priest always predomi- 
nating, with a most commanding sway. 

Hieroglyphic v\riting, which was in use during the period we 
are considering, embraced whatever was visible in the material 
world. The sun, moon and host of heaven — animals, plants, 
and works of art, all conveyed knowledge to the mind of man. 
And in so wide and extensive a search after the means of com- 
municating instruction, it is natural to suppose that the imple- 
ments of architecture would be pressed into the service of learn- 
ing and religion, and add their portion also to the general stock. 

It is thus, most probably, that we are to account for the exist- 
ence of the working tools among us. Not that we retain them as ves- 
tiges cf our former calling; but that they have been handed down 
to us, by the fathers of the craft, as emblems of moral truths. Our 
lectures prove this. For we are instructed, in our Monitors, that 
certain tools arc used by operative masons for the purposes of 
their trade, but that zee use them for purposes more noble and 


glorious. Not that we once wrought with them, and now moral- 
ize from them ; but that others use them for one purpose — we, 
for another. Upon any other supposition it is hardly possible 
to determine what such a fraternity, more than any others, should 
have to do with the anchor of hope with the mystic numbers 3, 
5 and 7, or with explanations as to the five senses, and the seven 
liberal sciences. Our mysteries are unfurnished with any type 
or character but those which anciently related to the worship of 
Deity, or conduced to the great objects of moral instruction ; 
and to this day they are calculated, when rightly understood, to 
impress our minds at once with the might and wisdom of God, 
and the majesty and grandeur of his ways ; — with the weakness, 
dependence and accountability of man — the mortality of his 
body, and the imperishable nature of his soul.* 

• The opinion that the society of Free-masons was never a body of architects 
has received the sanction of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. See Dal- 
cho^B Aiiiman Rezon, p. 217. 


The connection between the rites of Masonry and the ancient 
mysteries of Egypt, Greece and the northern Celts, is, at this late 
period, incapable of being established by any other evidence 
than what is furnished by circumstances and analogy. We have 
already traced its existence, by satisfactory proofs, more than a 
century beyond the first crusade, and of course beyond the ex- 
istence of the Knights Templars ; and have found that it was then 
an ancient institution. It must therefore either have been created 
durins: the dark a2:es which followed the destruction of the West- 
ern empire, to the time of Charlemagne, at the commencement 
of the ninth century ; or have originated some centuries earhcr, 
and even before the Christian era. But after the Gothic irrup- 
tions, Europe was totally sunk in ignorance and barbarism. The 
learning of former ages slumbered in the cloister, or dwindled 
into the most puerile fancies ; and its religion was degenerated 
into narrow bigotry and cruel and gloomy superstition. If there- 
fore our order was instituted during any portion of this period, 
it must have been either in Europe, during the reign of Charle- 
MAGXE, or in Asia, at the court of his great cotemporary Haroun 
AL Raschid ; for it was only in the courts of these two Princes 
that the light of science was visible at all. To the latter suppo- 
sition it will be deemed a sufficient answer, that though the court 
of this Khalif was the center of all the learning and philosophy 
and splendor of the east, yet it was the seat also of a religious 
system of which not the least trace can be discovered in the mys- 
teries of Masonry, and which was bigotted in its opposition 
against all secret associations whatever. And as to the former, 
every thing belonging to that period was infected with a spirit of 
chivalry, totally different from the genius of our institution. Had 
Masonry been the creation of that ag^e, it would have disclosed 


its parentage either by some characteristic features, or by some 
traditions still extant. But no such features are discoverable, 
nor do any such traditions exist; and our opponents, among 
whom have been some learned men, have never attributed to us 
so remote an antiquity. 

But if we are to look beyond the Christian era for the com- 
mencement of Masonry, we must first survey the rites and cere* 
monies of patriarchal and succeeding ages. 

Of the Egyptian mysteries nothing is now known except that 
they furnished the basis, and generally the superstructure, of 
those of Greece, of which the most celebrated were those of 

The mysteries of Eleusis were instituted in honor of Ceres? 
who is said to have appointed the ceremonies. It is related of 
this system that its secret has never been revealed, except by 
some persons immediately condemned to death. Wherever it was 
introduced, it is said to have diffused a spirit of union and har- 
mony — purified the soul from ignorance and pollution — procured 
to the initiated the means of arriving at the perfection of virtue — 
the serene happiness of a holy life, and the hope of a peaceful 
death, and endless felicity. The initiated were promised the en- 
joyment of a pure light in Elysian fields, while the uninitiated 
were consigned to places of darkness and horror. 

There were two kinds of these mysteries ; — ^the greater, and the 
lesser. The former were celebrated at Eleusis, the latter near 
Athens. People were introduced into them by degrees. At first 
they were to be purified ; and this noviciate lasted at least a 

* The learning of the Egyptians, in which Moses was skilled, consisted in 
arithmetic, geometry, music, and hieroglyphital philosophy ; and this last 
probably contained the arcana of their reh'gion. This wisdom was no trivial 
attainment, since it is said in the language of Holy Writ in praise of Moses, that 
he was "learned in all the wisdom of tht Egyptians." Acts vii. 22. The 
like is said of Solomon, 1. Kings iv. 30. Vid. 8tillingfleet'9 Origin^s Sacrae, 
pp. 121—123, 127. 

These mysteries were carried from Egypt to Oreece by Ercchtheus, who in- 
structed the Athenians in the manner of celebrating them. Rees' Cyclopae- 
dia, art. Eleusinia. citej Diodorus Siculus, Bibliothec, lib. i. 

IeWecsinia. 33 

year ; then they were admitted into the lesser Eleusinia, rnd 
afterwards into the greater. All were excluded who had been 
guilty of any atrocious crime^ and especially if they had ccr mit- 
ted homicide^ even though involuntary. Frequent expiations v. ere 
enjoined on the accepted ; they were shewn the necessity of pre- 
ferring the light of truth to the darkness of error ; and the seeds 
of the sacred doctrine were disseminated in their minds. They 
were exhorted to repress every violent passion^ and, hy purily of 
mind and heart, to merit the inestimable benefit of initiation. 

The principal officers were the Hierophant, whose ncice sig- 
nifies ht who reveals sacred things ; and who, at the celebration of 
the mysteries, represented the Creator of the Universe, ard was 
invested with symbols significatory of the Supreme Pcwer ; — the 
torch-bearer and assistant at the altar, who bore the emblt ms of 
the Sun and Moon ; — and the sacred herald, who was clcthed 
with the emblems of Mercury. 

At the opening of the greater mysteries the herald proclaimed, 
" far hence be the profane, the impious, and all those v. hose 
souls are polluted with guilt." After this notice, death would be 
the punishment of any person who should have the rashness to 
remain in the assembly without hanng been initiated. Ihe candi- 
date was introduced by night into the tem[)le, which was instantly 
involved in darkness, and secrecy was enjoined with great strict- 
ness. The ceremonies exhibited various terrific spectacles, cal- 
culated to awaken strong emotions in the beholder, and to leave 
the deepest impressions ; while funereal forms personified death, 
and the ills which flesh is heir to. The Hierophant explained 
these emblems in the most animated and impresstive descriptions. 
Other scenes disclosed the horrors of Tartarus, the dreary abode 
of the guilty, amidst whose shrieks were distinguished at inter- 
vals these words: — "Learn by our example to reverence the 
gods, to be just and grateful." After these succeeded delightful 
representations of the Elysian fields, the abode of happiness, il- 
luminated by a pure and serene light, where harmonious voices 
uttered the most enchanting sounds. And these trials being 


ended, the initiate was instructed in things which he was not per- 
mifted to reveal. 

It appears undeniable that the necessity of the rewards and 
punishments which await us after death, was inculcated in these 
mysteries ; and that the initiated were presented with a repre- 
sentation of the different destinies prepared for men in this and 
the other world. Polytheism had become general, and its ob- 
jects were multiplied to authorize every species of vice ; but this 
worship was equally agreeable to the people from its antiquity 
and even from its imperfections. Instead therefore of fruitlessly 
attempting to abolish it, endeavors were made by the legislator 
to counteract its pernicious effects, by establishing a doctrine of 
which traces are discernible in the opinions and ceremonies of 
almost all nations — that there is but one God, who is the author 
^nd end of all things. In fact it is not easy to suppose that a 
religious society, which destroyed the objects of popular wor- 
ship, which taught the doctrine of rewards and punishments in 
another life, and which required from its members so many pre- 
parations and prayers, and enjoined abstinence from so many 
things, joined with the greatest purity of heart, had no other ob- 
ject or intention than to conceal beneath a thick veil the ancient 
traditions concerning the formation of the world, the operations of 
nature, the origin of arts, together with other objects which could 
have only a slight influence on manners.* 

But these mysteries were not confined to the city of Eleusis 
alone. They were introduced into Athens something more than 
a thousand years before Christ ; and were observed in their 
most material features in Phrygia, Cyprus, Crete and Sicily. 
The knowledge of them Is also said to have extended to France, 

* Travels of Anacharsis Ihe younger,, chap, lxviii. and note. There ig a re- 
markable coiucidence to be observ'ed between the ostensible objects of these 
mysteries, and those of ancient Masonry ; whose volar-es, in like manner, pre- 
tended to "the skylle of nature, tlie understondyiig^e oi the myg;hte that ys 
hereynne, and its sondrye werrkynjes — the true maner of faconnynge all 
thynges for mannes use — the art of flfyndyngfe newe artes,'' &c. See the an- 
cient manuscript of Kii.g iIejvry VI. in the Apptndix No. I. 



the name of whose capital some derive from Par Isis^ because it 
was built beside a temple dedicated to that goddess.* In the 
reign of the Emperor Adrian they were carried to Rome,! where 
they were celebrated, more or less openly, till the time of Theo- 
Dosius the great, who reigned near the close of the fourth cen- 
tury, and whose severities against such as adhered to the pagan 
ritesj obliged their votaries to observe the utmost secrecy in their 
celebration. Certain it is, that many of these rites continued to 
be observed in secret, under the dissembled name of convivial 
meetings, notwithstanding the edicts of successive Christian Em- 
pefors against them ;§ and that as late as the eighth century, the 
mysteries of Ceres were still celebrated at Athcns.ll 

Among the most illustrious of those initiated into these myste- 
ries may be ranked Pythagoras, who commenced a new era in 
the philosophy of the old world. He was of Samos, and flour- 
ished about five centuries before Christ. His first journey from 
the Grecian islands was probably into Egypt, which was cele- 
brated in his time for that kind of wisdom which best suited his 
genius and temper. In his way thither he visited Phenicia, and 
conversed with the prophets and philosophers who were the suc- 
cessors of MoscHus, the physiologist, whom Selden and some 
others suppose to have been Moses. And many writers of ref- 
utation affirm, that after he left Egypt he visited the Persian and 
Chaldean Magi. He passed twenty-two years in Egypt, avail- 
ing himself of all possible means of information. respecting the 
recondite doctrines of the Egyptian priests, as well as of their 
astronom}^, geometry and their learning, in its most unlimited 
extent. He also visited Crete, where he was initiated by Epi- 

^ Lawrie'a Hist. Mason, p. 22. cites The Praise ofParis^ by S. West, F. R. S. 
■who observes that there is at this day (A, D. 1803) in the Petits Augastia s, a 
statue of Isis nursing; Orus. 

tEncyclop. Brit. vi. 555. 

X Mosh. Eccl. Hist. vol. I. p. 324. 

Gibbon's Rom. Empire, vol. 5. p. 110. 

H Psellus, quoted by Mr. Clinch, Anthoh Uibtm, for Jan. 1794 p. 36. Vid. 
Lawrie, uh. supr. pp. 22, 23. 


MEXIDE3 into the most sacred mysteries of Greece; and finally 
established his school of philosophy at Crotona, in the eastern 
part of Italy, then called Graecia Magna. The influence of his 
philosophy extended also to many other places, and obtained for 
Pythagoras, from his followers, a degree of respect little short 
of adoration - 

His method of instruction, formed upon the Egyptian model, 
was '' exoteric," or public, and " esoteric," or private ; to the 
mysteries of which latter none were admitted but his select dis- 
ciples, called his companions and friends, who first submitted to 
a peculiar system of discipline, and a long course of preparatory 
instruction. Their first studies were the mathematics ; and after 
sufficient advancement in these, they proceeded to the study of 
nature, the inves ligation of primary principles and the knowledge of 
God, Every day commenced, after homage to the 5wn, with de- 
liberation upon the manner in which it ought to be spent, and 
concluded with a retrospect of the events that had occurred and 
of the business that had been transacted. 

The " exoteric" disciples of Pythagoras were taught, after the 
Egyptian method, by images and symbols^ obscure, and almost un- 
intelligible to those who were not initiated into the mysteries of 
the school ; — and those who were admitted to this privilege were 
under the strictest obligation cf silence as to the secret doctrines of 
their master — were clad in white garments^- — and had particular 
words and signs by which they were known to each other.t The 
wisdom of Pythagoras, that it might not pass into the ears of the 
vulgar, was committed chief y to memory ; and when they found it 
necessary to make use of writing, they took care not to sufier 
their minutes to pass beyond the limits of the school. 

Clemens Alexandrinus observes that these two orders corres- 
ponded exactly to those in the Hebrew Schools of the Prophets: 
and Gale is of opinion, with him, that Pythagoras borrowed his 
philosophy from that of the Jews. 

*Basnage His*. Jews Look 2. cap. 13. sec. 21. 
t Gillies' Greece, vol. 2. p. 27. 


The strict injunction oi secrecy which was given by cath to the 
initiated Pythagoreans, has effectually prevented any original 
records of their doctrine concerning Nature and God from pass-' 
ing down to posterity. On this head we can only rely on Plato 
and his followers. 

Pythagoras taught that the end of philosophy is to free the 
mind front those incumbrances which hinder its progress towards 
perfection, and to raise it to the contemplation of immutable 
truth, and the knowledge of divine and spiritual objects. The first 
step towards w^isdom is the study of mathematics ; which science 
he divided into four parts ; — -two respecting numbers, and two 
respecting magnitude. Numbers in the abstract, is arithmetic ; — 
applied to some other object it is music. Magnitude he resolved 
into geometry and astronomy. 

The most probable explanation of the Pythagoric doctrine of 
numbers is, that they were used as symbolical or emblematical 
representations of the first principles and forms of nature, and 
particularly of those eternal and immutable essences to which 
Plato afterwards gave the name of ideas. Unable or unvv illing 
to explain, in simple language, the abstract notions of principles 
and forms, Pythagoras seems to have made use of numbers ; s 
geonietricians make use of diagrams, to assist the conceptions of 
scholars. More particularly conceiving some analogy between 
numbers and the intelligent forms wdiich subsist in the divine 
mind, he made the former a symbol of the latter. As numbers 
proceed from unity, or the monad, as a simple root, whence 
they branch out into various combinations and assume new prop- 
erties in their progress ; so he conceived the different forms of na- 
ture to recede, at different distances, from their common source, 
the pure and simple essence of deity, and at every degree of dis- 
tance to assume new properties, analogous to those of number 5 
and hence he concluded that the origin of things, their emanation 
from the first being, and their subsequent progression through vari* 
ous orders, if not capable of a perfectly clear explanation, might, 
however, be illustrated by symbols and reisemblances borrowed 
from numbers. 



Next to numbers, music had the chief place in the preparatory 
exercises of the Pythagorean school ; by means of which the pas- 
sions zoere to be subdued, and the mind raised above the dominion 
of the passions and inured to contemplation. 

Besides arithmetic and music, Pythagoras cultivated geomefr?/, 
which he learned in Egypt 5 but he greatly improved it by inves- 
tigating many new theorems, and by digesting its principles in an 
order more perfectly systematical than had before been done. 
The invention of the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid 
is ascribed to him. 

Of the astronomy of Pythagoras it is sufficient to remark that 
he was probably possessed of the true idea of the solar system, 
which was revived by Copernicus, and afterwards fully establish- 
ed by Newton. 

From this preparatory study the disciples of his school were 
conducted to natural, theological and moral science. Concern- 
ing vvisdom in general, he taught that it is a science which is con- 
versant with objects in their nature immutable, eternal, incorrup- 
tible. The man who appHes himself to this study is a philoso- 
pher ; and the end of philosophy is, that the human mind may, 
by such contemplation, be assimilated to the divine, and at length 
be qualified to join the assembly of the gods. In the pursuit of 
wisdom the utmost care must be taken to raise the mind above 
the dominion of the passions, and the influence of sensible ob- 
jects and to disengage it from all corporeal impressions, that it 
may be inured to converse with itself and to contemplate things 
spiritual and divine. For this purpose the assistance of God and 
good beings must be invoked by prayer. 

Virtue he divided into two branches, public and private. Pri- 
vate virtue respects education, silence, abstinence, fortitude, so- 
briety and prudence. Sobriety he considered as the strength of 
the soul, for it preserves its reason unclouded by passion. No 
man ought to be esteemed free, Avho^has not the perfect command 
of himself. He considered public virtue as relatina; to conversa- 
tion, friendship, religious worship, reverence to the dead, and 



Mutual confidence, he said, should never for a moment be in- 
terrupted between friends, whether in jest or earnest; for 
nothing can heal the wounds which are made by deceit. A 
friend must never be forsaken in adversity, nor for any infirmity 
in human nature, exceptonly invincible obstinacy and depravity. 
Before we abandon a friend we should endeavor by actions, as 
well as words, to reclaim him. 

Theoretical philosophy, which treats of nature and its origin, 
was the highest object of study of the Pythagorean school, and 
included all those profound mysteries which those, who have 
been ambitious to repoit what Pythagoras said in secret, have 
endeavored to unfold. Upon this subject nothing can be ad- 
vanced with certaint}^, especially respecting theology, the doc- 
trine of which, after the manner of the Egyptian priests, he was 
particularly %areful to hide under the veil of symbols^ pr?bal,^y 
through /ear of disturbing the popular superstitions. He held that 
the ilesign and object of all moral precepts is to lead men to the imi- 
tafion of God ; whom he appears to have considered as the Uni- 
versal Mind, diffused through all things — the source of all ani- 
mal life — the proper and intrinsic cause of all motion — in sub- 
stance similar to light — in nature like truth — the first principle 
of the universe — a soul pervading all nature, of which every hu- 
man soul is a portion — incapable of pain — invisible, incorrupti- 
ble, and only to be comprehended by the mind. Such was the 
philosophy of Pythagoras.* 

Nearly allied to the mysteries of Greece, were those of the 
Druids, who were the priests and philosophers of ancient Gaul 
and Britain. Some authors derive the name Druid from the 
Hebrew derussim or drusim, which they translate contemplatores ; 
but Borel deduces it from the old British dru, or derw, oak, 
(whence he takes the Greek drus, oak, to be derived) which they 
held in high veneration, and under which they sacrificed to the 
gods. The origin of this order has been a subject of much dis- 
cussion among the learned ; and the difficulty attending it is in- 

* See Rees' Cyclopedia, art. Pythagoras. Archytas, the eighth in successioB 
after Pythagoras, taught at Tareritum, and died after the year 360, B. C. 



creased by the fact, that the Druids, like Pythagoras and the 
priests of Eleusis, committed scarcely any thing to writing. 
Some refer their origin to the colony of Phocoeans which left 
Greece and built Marseilles in Gaul, about 539 years before 
Christ. These were the chief merchants, next to the Phoeni- 
cians ; and they traded to Britain and brought dti from thence.* 
Others have suggested that the Druids derived their philosophy 
from Pythagoras. And it is certain that it bears a much strong- 
er resemblance to his, than to the doctrines of any other sage 
of antiquity. But this resemblance may be accounted for by 
supposing that Pythagoras learned and adopted some of the 
opinions of the Druids, v.hile he imparted to them some of his 
own discoveries. It is well known that he procured admission 
into every society that was famous for its learning ; and it is di- 
rectly asserted by several authors that he heard ||^ the Druids 
of Gaul and was initiated into their mj'steries. The age of Py- 
thagoras was an important epoch in the history of learning; 
and probably all learned and religious societies drank at the 
same fountain. 

This opinion is not opposed to that of those who hold that the 
Druid mysteries were first introduced into Britain by the Phoe- 
nicians, and thence carried over into Gaul. The Phoenicians 
originally possessed a large portion of Canaan, the greatest 
part of which they lost by the conquests of the Israelites, under 
Joshua. Sidon, a port of great commerce, was among the last 
places subdued, as it held out after the allotment of that portion 
to the tribe of Ashur. The ^rradual, but regular, advance of the 
Israelites threatened the ancient inhabitants of Palestine with 
total destruction, and induced them to save themselves by flight. 
Sidon oiTered them an asylum, lent thera ships, and thus extend- 
ed her trade and colonies to distant countries. The opinion that 
Britain was visited by these people for commercial purposes, is 
founded on that of ancient writers, that all the tin that was con- 
sumed in the knovrn world came from the isles of Cassiterides ; 

* Strabo 1. 4. ^t is also fald that tbe ancient Briton? worshipper! Ceres and 
Proserpine, as they did in Samos. Vid. Coke, pref. to 3 Rep. fol. viii. ix. 


and there is no doubt that these isles were the Sorlingues and a 
part of Cornwall. This trade was opened at a very early peri- 
od, since tin was known in Palestine in the time of Moses.* 

There are others, however, who admit the existence of inter- 
course by sea between Asia and Britain, but deny that the Brit- 
ons received the rudiments of their religion from Phoenicia or 
Greece. They assert that the religion of the patriarchs was pre- 
served in great purity among the descendants of Gomer, who 
composed the nations of the northern Celts, and peopled Germany 
and the British Isles : — and that this religion, with very little 
corruption, was the religion of the Druids, The populace, in- 
deed, were captivated with the gods of their visitors from the 
Mediterranean ; but the Druids preserved the patriarchal fire in 
their sacred groves. 

The Druids, like the priesthood and magistrates of other na- 
tions, were variously distinguished by their rank and dignity ; 
some of them being more eminent than others, and the whole 
order being subject to one supreme head or arch-druid. This 
was the high-priest or pontifex maximus in matters of relio-ion, 
and the supreme judge in all civil causes- He had absolute au- 
thority over the rest, and commanded, decreed and punished at 

They have been accused of propitiating the gods by human 
victims; and some passages from C^sarj and Strabo, (who 
probably only copied Cassar) have been adduced in proof of ' 
the accusation. But this practice, though incomparably less 
execrable than the Autos da Fe, ought not, upon such orounds, 
to be charged on them. There are many reasons to believe 
that the spirit of the ancient laws of Britain was particularly 

* Numb. xxxi. 22. Vid. Pe Goguet, on the origin of Arts and Sciences, 
quoted by Hut< hinsoa, p, 49. 

Cassiterides is probably derived from the Greek kass?teros, sig-nifying tin ; and 
this again from the Chaldee kasfira, a word of the same import. Britannia is 
said to be from the Phoenician words, Barat anac — the field or land of tin or 
lead. Gale's Court of the Gentiles, Vol. 1, p. 46, 

t De bell. Gal. vi. U. 


averse from spilling human blood, and guarded the life of the 
subject with all imaginable tenderness.* The charge might prob- 
ably enough have originated in the ancient custom of hanging 
criminals in chains, and afterwards burning their bodies. Exag- 
gerations on this subject as well as others are not uncommon in 
antiquity. And it should be farther observed that the Druids 
were not intimately known to the Romans nor to the Greeks, 
who had strong prejudices against them, ranking them under 
the general name of Magi, a name which, as belonging to Per- 
sians, w^as never pleasant to the nations of Greece. 

It is not easy to ascertain the nature and extent of the learning 
of the Druids, though we have no reason to doubt their having 
possessed various kinds of literature and philosophy in an emi- 
nent degree, considering the period in which they lived. Diogenes 
Laertius assures us that the Druids were the same among the 
ancient Britons with the Sophi, or philosophers among the Greeks, 
the Magi among the Persians, the Gymnosophists and Brach- 
mans among the Indians, and the Chaldosans among the Assyri- 
ans. As the Druids studiously concealed their opinions and prin- 
ciples yVom all the world but ike members of their own Society^ neith- 
er the Greeks nor Romans could obtain a perfect and certain 
knowledge of their systems either of religion or philosophy ; and, 
on this account, we find few of them in the works of the ancients. 
Besides, they strictly observed the existing law^, which forbade 
them to commit any of their doctrines to wTiting.t Accordingly, 
when the living repositories of these doctrines were destroyed, 
they were mostly lost. Some few fragments, however, may still 
be collected. It appears that physiology, or natural philosophy 
was their favorite study. Cicero tells us| that he w^as personal- 
ly acquainted with one of the Gaulish Druids, Divitiacus the 
^duan, a man of quality in his country, who professed to have a 

* Montesquieu Sp. Laws b. 6, c. 18 The Druids *' by their virtue and tem- 
perance reproved those rices ia others from which they were themselves hap- 
pily free .■" Hale's History C. L. 127, note. 

tCffis. de Bell. Gal. b. 6. c. 13. 

JDeDivin. 1. 1. 


thorough knowledge of the laws of nature. According to sever- 
al authors* they entered into many disquisitions and disputations 
in their schools, concerning the form and magnitude of the uni- 
verse in general, and of the earth in particular, and even con- 
cerning the most hidden and sublime secrets of nature. On these 
heads they expressed their sentiments, whatever they were, in a 
dark^ figurative^ and enigmatical manner. 

Astronomy seems to have been one of the chief studies of -the 
Druids of Gaul and Britain ; and accordingly, Caesar says, they 
discoursed concerning the heavenly bodies and their motions, in 
which they instructed their disciples. Mela also observes that 
they professed to have great knowledge of the motions of the 
heavens. This last author suggests that they professed the 
knowledge of astrology, or the art of discovering future events, 
and the secrets of providence from the motions and aspects of 
the heavenly bodies. 

The Druids computed their time by nights, and not by days ; 
in conformity to a custom which they received from their remote 
ancestors, and in which they were confirmed by their measuring 
time very much by the moon, the empress of night. In their 
numerous observations on the moon, they could not fail to dis- 
cover that she shone with borrowed rays ; and, concurring with 
philosophers of other countries, the}^ might conclude she was in- 
habited. Such were the doctrines of Pythagoras, and we have 
no reason to doubt they were the opinions of these philosophers 
also. They also studied the stars, as well as the sun and moon ; 
and distinguished them from the planets with whose motions and 
revolutions they were somewhat acquainted. Plutarch says they 
were also acquainted with the constellations and signs of the zo- 
diac, and that they measured the revolutions of the sun and plan- 
ets by observing the length of time between their departure from 
and return to one of these signs.. 

As the Druids applied themselves to the study of philosophy 
and astronomy, it is hence evident that they possessed some 

* Diod. Sic. 1. 5. c. 31. Sirabti 1. 4. Cse?. de Bel. Gal. 1. 6. c.l3. Mela,l. 3-. 
o. 12. Amra. Marcel. 1. 15. c. 9. quoted in Rees' Cyclopfedia art. DruiAs 


knowledge of arithmetic and geometry. Unacquainted with the 
Arabic characters now in use, they probably computed by the 
letters of the Greek alphabet, with which they were familiar. 
And both Ceesar and Mela plainly intimate that they were con- 
versant with the most sublime speculations in geometry, "i» 
measuring the magnitude of the earth, and even of the world." 

Anatomy and medicine were among their objcQts of study ; for 
they were the physicians, as well as the priests, of the countries 
in which they resided. And they also cultivated the art of rhe- 
toric with great assiduity. 

Before the invasion of the Romans, the ancient Britons had 
among them various schools and seminaries of learning, which 
were wholly under the direction of the Druids, to whose care the 
education of youth was altogether committed. These Druidical 
a(:ademies were very much crouded with students, as many of 
the youth of Gaul came over to finish their education in Britain. 
The students, as well as the teachers, were exempted from milita- 
ry service and from taxes, and enjoyed many other privileges, 
which served to increase their numbers. The academies of the 
Druids, as well as their temples, were situated in the deepest re- 
cesses of woods and forests ; partly because such situations were 
best adapted to study and contemplation, and principally because 
they were the most suitable to that profound secrecy with which 
they instructed their pupils, and kept their doctrines from the 
knowledge of others. Wherever they had any temple of any 
great note, attended by a considerable number of priests ; there 
they also had an academy, in which such of those priests as were 
esteemed most learned, were appointed to teach. In these semi- 
naries the professors delivered all their lectures to their pupils 
in verse, and a Druidical course of education, comprehending 
the whole circle of the sciences that were then taught, is said to 
have consisted of about twenty thousand verses, and to have last- 
ed, in some cases, twenty years. The scholars zoere not allowed 
to commit any of these verses to writing, but were obliged to im- 
print them all in the memory. When the youth were first ad- 
mitted into these academies they were obliged to take an oath of 


sdcrecy, in which they solemnly swore they would never reveal the 
mysteries which they should there learn. 

The Druids, as well as the Gymnosophists of India, the Chal- 
daeans of Assyria, the Magi of Persia, and all other priests of an- 
tiquity, had two sets of doctrines or opinions ; one of which they 
committed only to the initiated, who were admitted into their 
order, and which they studiously concealed from the rest of man- 
kind ; teaching it in the caves or recesses of the forests, and for- 
bidding its being committed to writing : and another which vv-as 
made public, and adapted to the capacities and superstitious hu- 
mors of the people, and calculated to promote the honor and op- 
ulence of the priesthood. The secret doctrines of the Druids 
were in some respects the same with those of the other ancient 
philosophers, which are all supposed to have flowed, by different 
streams of tradition, more or less pure, from the instructioiis 
which the sons of Noah gave to their immediate descendants. 
Accordingly these secret doctrines were more agreeable to prim- 
itive tradition and right reason than those in which the Druid 
priests instructed the populace. . It is not, therefore, improbable, 
that they still retained ii\ secret the great doctrine of one God. 
the creator and governor of the universe, and instructed their se- 
lect disciples concerning his nature and perfections. 

Some writers have, with much research and labor, endeavor- 
ed to shew that the Druids, as well as ofher orders of the an- 
cients, taught their disciples concerning the creation of the world 
and of man, his primitive innocence and felicity, his fall into guilt 
and misery, the creation of angels, their expulsion from Heaven, 
the universal deluge, and the final destruction of the world by 
fire : and that their doctrines on these subjects are not very dif- 
ferent from those which are contained in the sacred Scriptures. 
However this may be, it is sufficiently manifest that the D^'uids 
taught the immortality of the soul, and that after death it ascen- 
ded to some higher orb, and enjoyed a more sublime telicity. 
But as the Druids, in common Vv^ith other priests of the ancient 
mysteries, conceived that the common people were incapable of 
comprehending rational principles ofrelio-inn. and that fables 

4^ TKE DKt'IDS. 

were better adapted to their faculties and dispositions ; their pub-" 
lie theology consisted of such fables concerning the genealogies^ 
attributes, actions and offices of their gods, and the various su- 
perstitious methods of appeasing their anger, gaining their favor 
arid discovering their will. With this fabulous theology they 
intermixed moral precepts for regulating the manners of their 
auditors ; whom they warmly exhorted to abstain from doing a> 
ny injury one to another, and to fight valiantly in defence of 
their country. 

It is worthy of observation that the Supreme Being was wor- 
shipped by the Gauls and Britons under the name of Hesiis^ a 
word expressive of omnipotence, as Hizzuz^ is in the Hebrew** 
In the opinion of the Druids it was unlawful to build temples 
to the Gods, or to worship them within walls or under roofst. 
All their places of worship were therefore in the open air, and 
generally on eminences^ from which was a full view of the heav- 
enly bodies. But to prevent their being incommoded by the 
ts'inds and rains, or distracted by the view of external objects, or 
disturbed by theintrusio7iofunhallozved feet, when they were either 
Instructing their disciples, or performing their religious rites ; they 
selected the deepest recesses of woods and groves for their sacred 
places. The trees in which they most delighted were strong 
spreading oaks. For this tree, they are said to have had so high 
a veneration, that they performed no religious ceremony without 
being adorned with garlands of its leaves ; and they believed 
that every thing which grew upon it came from Heaven, and that 
God had chosen that tree above all others|. In this respect they 
resembled the priests of the ancient nations, and especially the 
Hebrew patriarchslF. These sacred groves were watered by 

* Ps^xiv 3. 

i Tacii. de. mor. Germi c. 9. Exod. xx, 24. 

X Pliny Nat. Hist. I. 16. c. 44. 

IT Cen XXI. 33. And Abraham planted a grove (ITeb. a tree)in Beersheba, 
and called there on the tinme of the Lord, the everlasting God. 

Gen. XXXV, 4. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange Gods, .Ic.and Jacob 
h id them under the oak which was by Shechem. 

lb. V. 8. But Deborah, Rebeckah's iiUrse, died, and fhe vas buried beneath 
iJethcl, under an oak^ kc. 


some consecrated fountain or river, and surrounded by a ditch 
or mound, to prevent the intrusion of improper persons. In th& 
center of the grove was a circular area, inclosed with one or 
more rows of large stones set perpendicularly in the earth,which 
constituted the temple, within which stood the altar whereon sac- 
rifices were offered, and which some think were also places of 
solemn assemblies for councils and seats of judgment. These 
temples, though generally circular, occasionally differed as well 
in figure as in magnitude. Some of the most simple consisted c f 
one circle of stones. The immense temple at Stonehenge, still 
extant, consisted of two circles and two ovals, respectivly con- 
centric ; whilst that at Bottalch, near St. Just, in Cornwall, was 
formed by four intersecting circles. In the article of magnitude 
and number of stones there is the greatest variety ; some circles 
being only twelve feet in diameter, and composed of twelve stones'*^', 
others extending to far greater numbers and dimentions.t 

Josh XXIV. 26. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, 
and took a great stone and set it up there under an oak thai was bx the sanctua" 
Ty of the Lnrd^ 

Judges VI. 11. And there came an angel of the Lord and sat under an oak 
which was in Ophrah, &c. 

Judge? IX. 6. And ail the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the. 
house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech King, by the plain of the pillar 
(or oak) that was in Shechem. 

1. Kings XIII. 14. And went after the man of God, and found him sitting un- 
der an oak^ Sec. 

I. Chron x 12. They arose, all the valiant men, and took way the body of 
Saul and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their 
bones under TRBak in Jabesh^ ilie. 

In after ages the Jews and the neighboring nations seem to have carried this 
"feneration of the oak to an idolatrous excess. 

Ezek. VI. 13. Round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops 
of -he mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak^ the 
jplace where they did offer sweet savour to their idols. 

Hos. IV. 13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains^ and burn incense 
upon the hills, under oaks^ &c, 

* Josbt. IV. 2-9. 20. " And those twelve stones^ which they took out of Jor- 
dan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal." 

t In tnese Druidical remains there are striking^ sImilariUes to the uaagea of 


Such was the condition of the Druidical religion and policy at 
the coming of the Romans into Britain, about 65 years before 

The Romans, in all their conquests, never considered them- 
selves complete masters of any country, till they had subverted 
its government and religion, and imposed on it the laws and the 
gods of Rome. But in the conquest of Britain their own religion 
furnished an obstacle almost insuperable. For the mythology 
of Greece and Rome, though used by the Druids as a convenient 
allegory, suitable enough for the rude conceptions of a populace 
but little emerged from a savage state, was never admitted by 
them in all its details, as sound theology. And however willing 
they might be that others should believe it, who were incapable 
of sublime speculations, they never could be brought to receive 

the early Hebrews ; which strongly countenance the belief that both are to be 
referred to the same origin and design. The twelve stones which were taken 
out of Jordan, Joshua pitched in Gilgal, that is, in a circle, for such is the sig- 
nification of the word. The place came thus early to be venerated, and prob- 
ably was the chief resort of the priests for many generations, being the Stone- 
benge of the Hebrew nation. Thus Ehud, Judg. iii. 19, pretended to have re- 
ceived a message from the Lord at Gilgal ; ^hich the King of Moab would not 
have credited, had not some establishment, capable of furnishing an oracle, 
existed at the place. A correspondent dignity is indicated in the circuits of 
Samuel. I. Sam. vii. 16. He went yearly to Bethel, where we know was a 
place of sacred stones. Gen. xxviii. IS. and xxxv. 7. 14. and to Gilgal, where 
was another place of sacred stones, and to Mizpeh, which, as the name signi- 
fies, was a pillar of commemoration. Vid. also I. Sam. vii. 5. x. 17. Judg. xx.2. 
M^c. iii. Gilgal was a place of sacrifice, 1. Sam. x. 8. of civil business, 1 Sam. 
xi. 15. xiii. 7. kc. xv. 33, and of a college ofpriests and prophets. 2. Kings ii.l. 

The erection of a single stone, or mizpeh, was common to the Druids and 
Hebrew patriarchs ; Gen. xxxv. 20. Josh, xxiv,26. 1. Sam. vi. 8. and vii. 12. 
as were also mounds or heaps of stones, for commemoration of remarkable e- 
vents. Gen. xxxi. 46. Josh. vii. 26. Such an heap was termed in old British 
a carae ; a name evidently derived from the Hebrew kern, which has the 
same signification. 

These circumstances shew a strong resemblance between the religious rites 
and opinions of the Druids, and tome of those ideas which prevailed among the 
Hebrews in their early commonwealth ; and vhich their greatest prophets 
and magistrates were far from reproving, but rather countenanced and support- 
ed by their own example. Vid. 4. Calm» Diet. p. 250. Charlestown ed. 


it themselves. Hence they animated their countrymen to the most 
determined resistance, and the contest with the Romans had 
nearly become a war of extermination. The religion of the 
Romans, however, by degrees, weakened the system of the Dru- 
ids, whose temporal and spiritual power alike declined ; and 
while these two were struggling for the victory, Christianity was 
happily introduced, and in time superseded them both. The 
Druids, assailed from all quarters, were compelled to greater 
secrecy in the celebration of their rites, and still preserved them, 
notwithstanding the severe regulations which were adopted 
against them. But, in a course of years, the prejudices against 
Christianity vanished, and the ancient adherents to the DruiJ 
worship were dead or converted to the Christian religion; 
yet the custom of assembling at stated periods — the oath of se- 
crecy — the ritual — the unwritten traditions — all remained, and 
were preserved by that instinct of association so natural to man- 
kind. The principles of benevolence, and friendship maintained 
their place — the arts and sciences were still cherished and re- 
spected — but the law of the grove, or the religion of nature, 
yielded its place to the religion of revelation. But as the heath- 
en superstitions continued to be observed in secret in various 
parts of Europe, long after Christianity became the religion of 
the empirv^, general laws were enacted against all secret associa- 
tions whatever ; and hence those associations whose objects 
were most innocent and laudable, were compelled to the greatest 
secrecy and caution to escrpe the common destruction. Even 
as late as the reign of Canute, in the eleventh century, a law was 
enacted against the gentile worship, in such terms as to render 
it dangerous to use figures of the sun and moon, even for purposes 
of the purest and most sublime instruction. 


It is by no means improbable, as some have supposed, that the 
secret mysteries of the Greeks, as well as their architecture, 
Were known to the Jews in the reign of Solomon. If the least 
credit is to be given to our oral traditions, such was certainly 
the fact. It was about fifty years* before Solomon's time that 
a vast multitude of Greeks, principally lonians, sailed to Asia 
Minor, drove out the inhabitants, and seated themselves in their 
country ; spreading their settlements far and wide ; travelling 
through the neighboring nations, and carrying with them their 
own arts, sciences, and religious rites.t Such an assemblage of 
the most enterprising, restless and ambitious spirits of ancient 
Greece, soon surpassed fhe more quiet and indolent inhabit- 
ants of the mother country, in all those arts in which men most 
desire to excel ; and especially in architectural design and 
sculpture, then in high request in their own and the surrounding 
countries. They became the artists of all Syria, and of course 
could not long escape the notice, nor fail to experience the pat- 
ronage of a king of such munificence and such extensive com- 
merce as Hiram of Tyre. It is reasonable, therefore, to con- 
clude that of these Greeks was composed the company of " cun- 
ning workmen" sent by the king of Tyre,| to assist in the erec- 
tion of the celebrated temple at Jerusalem. For who so 
likely to be selected by such a prince, for the erection of so stu- 
pendous, so magnificent and sacred a structure, as the most skil- 
ful and experienced architects then known in the world ? And 
this conjecture is further corroborated by Josephus, who re- 

* Barthclemi places this " Ionic migration^' in the year 1076 B. C. Travels 
of Anacharsis, toI. 1, p. 330. Playfair refers it to the year 1044 B. C. The 
temple was erected about 1010, B. G. 
\ Sillies' Greece, vol. 2, p.l6S>. i 1 Kings r. 6. 1^. 18. and vil. 13. 14. 



lates* that the style of building used in the temple of Solomo» 
was of the kind denominated Grecian, The principal architect 
and designer, too, the son of a Tyrian father, and a votary of 
the gods of the Greeks, was honored by Solomon with high con- 
fidence ; and would naturally communicate to the Jews under 
his direction some knowledge of his own religion, as well as de- 
rive light and benefit from theirs. And in the erection of two 
pillars before the temple commemorative, as their names imply, 
of the firmness and promised perpetuity of his throne,t we have 
an eminent instance of Solomon's compliance with the customs 
of the surrounding nations. 

The building of this magnificent and sacred temple was an 
important period in the history of architecture. It concentrated, 
as in a focus, the genius and skill of the whole civilized world. 
After its completion, the workmen and superlntendants dispersed, 
carrying with them the fruits of seven years' discipline and study 
under the patronage of the wisest of men. It is probable that 
companies of these artists travelled to all parts of the known 
world, and transmitted, to successive generations, the knowledge 
they had acquired in Judea.J 

The Dionysian artificers, as they were termed, were scattered 
in companies throughout Asia and Europe, but were most nume- 
rous in Syria. About three hundred years before Christ, a con- 
siderable number of them were incorporated by command of 
the kings of Pergamus, who assigned them Teos as a settlement, 
it being the city of their tutelary god. The members of this 
association, which was intimately connected with the Dionysian 
mysteries^ were distinguished from the uninitiated inhabitants of 
Teos by their superior attainments, and by appropriate words 

* Jewish Ant. lib. viii. c. 2. 

+ 1 King-s vii 21 ix. 5. The erection of pillars and obelisks was an ancient 
practice of the eastern nations, the u^e of which was to record the exte^it of 
dominion, the tributes of subjected nations, and other remarkable events. 
Solomon, in adopting' this usa2:e, probably intended the pillars for a memorial 
to the Jews, as they entered the temple, of the promises made by Jehovah to 
David. Hutchinson, p. 95, note. 

% See constitutions, London edition, 1767, pp. 24—30. 


and signs^ by which they recognized each other. They were 
divided into separate Lodges, or communities, which were dis- 
tinguished by different appellations. They occasionally held 
convivial meetings, in houses erected and consecrated for this 
purpose, and a general meeting once a year ; and each separate 
association was under the direction of a master and presidents, 
or wardens. In their ceremonial observances they used particu- 
lar utensils, some of which resembled those still in use among the 
fraternity of masons ; and like them, the opulent were bound to 
provide for the wants of their necessitous brethren. The monu- 
ments which were reared by these fraternities to the memory of 
their masters and wardens, remain to the present day in the Turk- 
ish burying grounds of Siverhissar and Eraki,* 

* In this notice of the Dionysian Artificers at Tecs, I have followed Lawrie's 
History of IVlasonry, pp. 28 — 30, who cites Strabo, lib. iv. Chandler's travels 
pp. 100 — 103. Chishull, Antiq. Asiatic, pp. 107 — 149. Robinson's proofs, 
p. 20. Ionian antiquities, published by the society of Dilettanti, p. 3--^. 


Jm this brief review of the mysteries of the ancienti?, there ap- 
pears such a coincidence in all their principal features as to lead 
tis at once to the belief that they all had one common origin and 
design ; — that they were but different modifications of the same 
general system ; — and that " the sons of Japheth undeniably 
drew many of their institutions from the same sources as the 
inore favored sons of Shem."* 

Though the patriarchs were instructed in the principles of the 
true religion, yet probably but few generations had succeeded, 
before the worship of Jehovah, by imperceptible degrees, had 
become loaded with a mass of lifeless and unmeaning supersti^ 
tions. The imaginations of men, being once launched forth in 
unrestrained speculation upon the externals of religion, and for- 
getting the true character of the Deity they professed to adore, 
were guilty of the wildest extravagancies. Allegory soon be- 
came fact. " The vulgar, losing sight of the emblematical sig- 
nification, which was not readily understood but by the priests 
$Ljid their disciples, worshipped the symbols themselves." Fic- 
titious names, invented to designate the difterent attributes of De- 
ity, and the various passions and emotions of the human heart, 
came to be regarded as the names of distinct divinities ; and 
hence the kalendar of the times was crouded with multitudes of 
gods and deified heroes, the supposed benefactors of mankind. 

* Sir William Jones entertained the opinion that the religious rites of Egypt, 
China, Persia, Phrygia, Phenicia, Syria, India, and some of the southern king- 
doms and even islands of America were derived from the eame parent stock. 
See his discourse on the gods of Greece, Italy and India, published in the Jtsi- 
atic Researches^ yo], 1. p. 221. See also the Travels of Cyrus hj Chevalier 
Jflam*ay ; and Gale^s Court of the Gentiles^ ysirt 1. It is remarkable that the 
Indian names of the days of the "w eek, were found to be derived from the names 
df the same deities, and to stand in the same order, as our own. See Asidiiic 
Htsenreht's, vol. 2. p. 303. 


Blind superstition swayed her leaden sceptre over the submis- 
sive nations ; and men, ignorant of their creator, at length doubt- 
ed the immortality of their souls. 

It is easy to imagine that when polytheism and atheism thus 
divided the empire over the minds of a large majority of men, it 
€Ould not be very safe or prudent openly to attack them. The 
gods too, were beings of such loose morality themselves and con- 
sequently their rites and orgies so congenial to the baser and 
more licentious passions of men, that openly to deny their exis- 
tence would only ensure the certain and sudden reward of a 
crown of martyrdom. The multitude would have stoned any 
man who might have the temerity to proclaim in public a purer 
and more sublime theology than their own. 

It was this which caused the death of Socrates, and had very 
nearly terminated, at Athens, the career of St. Paul. The chil- 
dren of the light — the votaries of true religion, from the begin- 
ning were styled by the men of the world " pestilent fellows" and 
*^' movers of sedition." The early converts to Christianity con- 
tended with astonishing courage and constancy for the faith of 
their ascended Lord. They seemed to court the honor of tor- 
tures and death ; — an honor to which their heathen persecutors 
promoted them by thousands, with most deplorable readiness. 
But among the heathen nations, the wise and learned, whose no- 
tions of the character of Deity and of the nature of the worship 
due to him, were more exalted and correct, than those of other 
pagans, and who, in fact, were all hut Christians, — these were not 
disposed, nor required by their principles, to brave the fury of an 
ignorant and brutal populace. Disbelieving and despising the 
popular fables, they concealed their contempt of them ; and con- 
tented themselves with the secret propagation of the truth by 
degrees and under strong sanctions, to none but those on whose 
fidelity they could safely rely. Hence, at initiation into all the 
ancient mysteries, a tremendous oath of secrecy was invariably 
administered, and a previous noviciate was required of every 
candidate. The same general features are observable in them 
all. They were the sole depositaries of the science and literar 


ture of the age, as well as of theological truth. The mind of the 
initiate was first enlightened and disciplined by the study of the 
mathematics. As he advanced, natural philosophy and the sci- 
ences expanded and strengthened his powers, and prepared hin^ 
for deeper and more sublime speculations. It is worthy of notice, 
too, that the priests of all these mysteries succeeded in amusing 
the uninitiated with various shows and pretensions, calculated to 
quiet their apprehensions, and yet not totally foreign from the 
ti'uth ; and were able to obtain from their support and veneration 
the means of undermining the very idolatry to which they were 
so pertinaciously addicted. In the mean time the initiated were 
admitted, by slow gradations, through the mazes of philosophy 
and the whole circle of the sciences to the knowledge of those 
truths in which are supposed to have consisted the great secrets 
of the Eleusinians, the Pythagoreans and the Druids, viz. them- 
w>ortality of the soul, and the unity oj God, in opposition to Poly- 

In all these fraternities instruction was conveyed by the same 
symbols. Words and signs were invented by which the initiated 
were readily known to each other. All were governed by offi- 
cers of similar rank and authority- — and all professed to be chil' 
dren of the light. The initiate was divested of his former appar- 
el and subjected to various and repeated purifications ; after 
which he was clothed in lohite robes, as tokens of his purity, inno- 
cence and newness of life, as characteristics of his devotion to the 
true God, and his vows of obedience to his will. The Egyptian 
priests wore snow-white cotton ; — the Greek priests in the service 
of Ceres put on white robes at the celebration of her rites ; — and 
the Druids were apparelled in white at the time of their sacrifices 
and solemn officesf. Some of these fraternities insisted more on 
mathematical science, others attached greater importance to 
moral philosophy ; but all adhered to oral instruction, commit- 
ting nothing, or but Utile to writing, and in this little using the same 

* Spc travels of Anarharsis the younger, vol. 3. p. 440. note xxiv. and toI. 
4. p. 246. 247. »ote xiv. 

t Hutchinson, p. 84. 


language — the Greek ; — and all, under whatever modifications 
different nations, manners, customs and times imposed, converge 
ing, like the radii of a circle, to the same brilliant center — the 
w»rship of Him viho is s&aUd in tht midst qf Heaven, 


We return from this rapid survey of the institutions of the an- 
cients, to the further consideration of the masonic mysteries -, of 
which, however, our engagements will permit us to sketch only 
tiie outhne. There is great difReulty in doing justice to. this 
part of the subject ; — to avoid, on the one hand, the disclosure 
of what should be concealed, — and, on the other the exhibition 
of our venerable order in a distorted or partial view, unworthy its 
real character. Perhaps many books which have been written 
on the nature of a Lodge and its emblems, have not beeli of tha( 
service to the cause which they were probably intended to ef- 
fect. It requires a degree of patience, at least, to read some 
pages which have been published to the world as parts of the 
regular lectures of masons ; and ihe time, it is to be hoped, is 
not far distant, when our Monitors and text-books will no longer 
be burdened with long and stale definitions of the five senses and 
the four cardinal virtues. Not that we Would speak slightly of 
the strongest injunctions to the practice of those virtues ; but to 
croud such dcfiaiimns upon the reader, is supposing him ignorant 
to a great degree, and to an extent altogether unpardonable in a 
mason. Omitting, therefore, all observations oftliat kind, we 
will attempt to exhibit some general features of the Masonry 
of the present day, and explain the uses of some of its emblems 3 
commencing with the opening of a Lodge, and following the lec- 
tures belonging to the several degrees, as they are gi\ en in our 
Monitors and other approved writings upon Masonry. 

From a share in the ceremony of opening a Lodge, no mason 
can be exempted. It is a solemnity at which all v. ho are pres- 
ent must assist. Its commencement is announced by the master 
and is the signal for every officer to repair to his station, and for 
t'he brethren to arrange themselves in order, according to their 


several grades. Our care is directed to the external avenues ol 
the Lodge, and no business is transacted, till the proper officers 
have intimated, in ancient forms, that we may safely proceed ; 
nor till we are satisfied, from proper scrutiny, that no impostors 
arc among us. 

At this ceremony two purposes are effected. The master is 
reminded of the dignity of his character, and of his power and 
duty ; and the brethren of the homage and veneration they sev- 
erally owe him. The existence and sovereignty of the Great 
Supreme are expressly recognized, and his blessing solemnly in- 
voked by prayer. 

[an ancient prayer at the opening or a lodge. 
Most holy and glorious God, the great Architect of the Uni- 
verse, and the giver of all good gifts and graces, — in thy name 
we are now assembled, most humbly beseeching thee to bless us 
in all our lawful undertakings, to grant that we may know and 
serve thee aright, and that all our actions may tend to thy glory, 
and to our advancement in knowledge and virtue. 
Amen, So mote it be.] 

The master now assumes the government of his lodge, and the 
Wardens under him ; and the ceremony concludes with an an- 
cient expression of respect from the brethren. 

At the close of a Lodge a similar ceremony takes place. The 
last as well as the first duties of life are called forcibly to our 
minds ; and we are again reminded of the necessity of subordi- 
nation in all regular societies ; again we acknowledge our de- 
pendence on the Deity we profess to serve, offer him our hum- 
ble tribute of gratitude for his mercies, and implore his blessing 
on the whole fraternily. 

[a prayer at closing a lodge. 

Almighty and Beneficent Parent, we again bow ourselves be; 

fore thy presence, and humbly offer thee, on the altar of our 

hearts, a sacrifice of thanksgiving for all thy goodness to the sons 

of men. We praise thee for the benefits of our ancient and hap- 


py fraternity. May thy blessing rest upon us and all regular 
masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and so- 
cial virtue cement us. May we ever walk in the light of thy 
countenance, and fear no danger ; and when the trials of this 
probationary state are ended, may we be admitted into thy 
presence, and receive the reward of faithful laborers. 
Amen . So mote it be.] 

The opening of a Lodge is followed, and its close preceded, 
by a rehearsal of the ancient charges, containing a brief summa- 
ry of our religious and moral duties. These are arranged under 
the general divisions of our duties to God, our neighbor, and 
ourselves, and are enforced with peculiar energy. 

In the lecture of the Entered Apprentice's degree we are 
qualified, in the first section, to try and examine the rights of 
others to our privileges, while we prove ourselves. This section 
accurately elucidates the mode of initation into our mysteries ; 
and teaches us that Masonry is an holy institution. 

[a prayer at the making of a mason. 
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, in know- 
ledge of whom is eternal life, deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, 
from the bondage of ignorance and sin ; bring us lo know thy 
truth, and may the truth make us free. Bless us in the exercise 
of all our social affections. May this our friend, who is now to 
become our brother, devote his life to thy service, and consider 
aright the true principles of his engagements. Give him Wisdom 
to direct him in all his ways ; Strength to support him in all his 
trials ; and the Beauty of true religion to adorn his life. Grant 
that we may never abuse our freedom; but in all our thoughts,*^'"' 
words, and actions, may we live within the compass of thy com- 
mandments. And when our labors here are finished, may our 
souls find refreshment in the regions of eternal day. 
Amen* So mote it be.] 


During ttiis ceremony the following Psalm is introduced :-— 

'• Behold I how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to 
dwell together in unity ! 

" It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down 
upon the beard,even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts 
of his garments : 

" As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended up- 
on the mountains of Zion : for there the Lord commanded the 
blessing, even life forevermore." 

Every candidate at his initiation is presented with a lamb-skm 
or zohite apron, which is the emblem of innocence and the badge 
of a mason ; as ancient as our venerable order ; as honorable 
as the diadems ofkmgs or pearls of princes, when worthilj^ 
worn ; and which continually reminds him of that purity of heart 
" which is essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the 
Celestial Temple, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe 
presides." This badge is transmitted to us from the ancients, 
who " were wont to put a white garment on the person baptized, 
to denote his having put off the lusts of the flesh, and his being 
cleansed from his former sins ; and that he had obliged himself 
to maintain a life of unspotted innocency. — Accordingly the bap- 
tized are both by the apostle and the Greek fathers frequently 
styled the enlightened [ x. 32.] because they professed to 
be the children of light, and engaged themselves never to return 
again to the works of darkness. This white garment used to be 
delivered to them with this solemn charge — ' Receive the white 
and undefiled garment, and produce it without spot before the 
tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may obtain eternal 
life. Amen.' They were wont to wear these white garments 
for the space of a week after they were baptized, and then put 
themfeff and laid them up in the church, that they might be kept 
as a witness against them, if they should violate the baptismal 
covenant."* The Christian fathers did not first introduce this 

* Ri<v^raphia Ecclesla?tica quoted by Hutchinson, p. 82. See also Mosheim*? 
Eccles. Hist. Vol. J. i.. 388. 


badge, but adopted it, as they found it in use in the religious rites 
of the primitive converts to Christianity, whose priests, as we 
have before observed, were habited in white during their solemn 
ceremonies. Akhough the full white robe has been laid aside 
since an early period in the history of the Knights Templars^et 
the badge of white is still regarded among masons as,one of most 
significant emblems of their order. 

The first section of the lecture of this degree closes with an ex- 
planation of the working tools, as those masonic emblems are 
called, which resemble the implements of architecture. The im- 
plements belonging to this degree are, the twenty-four-inch guage^ 
and the common gavel. 

The twenty-four-inch guage is an instrument used by operative 
masons to measure their work ; but we, as free and accepted 
masons, are taught to use it for the more noble purpose of divid- 
ing our time. Its division into twenty-four equal parts is emblem- 
atical of the hours of the day ; a due part whereof we are bound 
to devote to the worship and service of God, — a due part to our- 
selves and families, — and a due part to a friend or brother as oc- 
casion may recjuire*. 

The common gavel is an instrument used by operative masons 
to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for 
the builder's use ; but we, as free and accepted masons, are 
taught to use it for the purpose of being divested of every vice^ 
and fitted, as living stones, for the ''' house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens. . 

The second section of this lecture rationally accounts for the or-^ 
igin of hieroglyphical instruction, maintains the propriety of our 
rites, and particularly explains the nature and uses of the vari- 
ous ceremonies of initiation into this degree. Here is inculcated 
the necessity of a due preparation of heart for the enjoyment of 

* King Alfred divided his time into three equal porti -ns ; allowirg one to 
sleep, ' ne to business, and one to study anddev tion. Sir William Jones thus 
dislribntes the time of a student : 

Six hours to books, to soothing slumber seven, 

Ten to the world allot, and all to Heaven. -^♦^/^j P* ^^'^' 


future happiness ; the certain attainment of knowledge by those 
who diligently seek it ; the perfect security of innocence and in- 
offensiveness ; and the wisdom of a vigorous and implicit trust in 

The third section professes to show the nature and general prin- 
ciples of the masonic institution. It is in this place, more espe- 
cially,' that we are taught the form^ supports, coverings furniture, or- 
naments, lights dind jewels of a Lodge ; how it should be situated 
and to whom dedicated, 

A Lodge is said to be the place where masons assemble to 
work ; — whose bounds are from the distant quarters of the uni- 
verse, — whose height is limited by the Heavens, and whose depth 
extends to the center ; — this denoting the unlimited dominion of 
that August Being, whose presence fills immensity, and whose 
providential care is over the minutest of his creation. Its sup- 
ports are the pillars of wisdom, strength, and beauty. It is covered 
with the starry canopy of Heaven, whither, we are told, all good 
masons may hope to arrive, hy faith in God, hope in immortality, 
ancl charity to all mankind. This is indicated by the emblem of a 
ladder, of which these virtues are said to be the principal rounds. 

The fiwniture of a lodge consists of the Holy Bible, the Square, 
and the Compasses, The bible is said to be dedicated to God, as 
being his inestimable gift to man, and showing the only path that 
leads to happiness. The square, which denotes that unerring 
standard of divine truth by which every man's work is to be tri- 
ed, is dedicated to the master, it being the appropriate emblem 
of his office, to remind him of the duty he owes to the lodge over 
which he is appointed to preside. The compasses, indicating 
self-restraint, or the due subjection of the passions, and a peace- 
able submission to rulers and the laws, are dedicated to the craft. 

Perhaps anciently, before masonry became perfected by as- 
suming a character entirely christian, the emblem of an open 
book may have designated those laws which, under the name of 
reason or natural religion, regulated the moral world. But more 
probably it signified those sacred writings — those oracular res- 
ponses, or revelations of the will of the Deity to men — vrhkh 


most heathen nations have supposed themselves to possess, but 
which in truth belong to Christians alone. Thus the East In- 
dians represented one of the appearances of Vishnuh under the 
similitude of a man, coming out of the mouth of a vast fish, and 
holding in one of his hands an open hook^^ or revelation from 
Heaven. If this conjecture be well founded, it is easy to account 
for the introduction of the Scriptures into lodges of masons, and 
for the veneration in which tradition tells us thej have inime- 
morially been held. Certain it is, that the Holy Bible is termed, 
with emphasis, the great light of Masonry. It is always epen, to 
denote the freeness of its proffered benefits, and to deprive us of 
the plea of ignorance to excuse our neglect of the important mes- 
sage it brings. 

The ornaments of a lodge are the mosaic pavement with its tesse- 
lated border^ and the blazing star. The mosaic pavement has an 
allusion to the ground floor of King Solomort^s temple ; and the 
blazing star to the Star in the East which guided the wise men to 
the birth place of our blessed Saviour. In another view the .pai- ^^ ^^ 
saic pavement with its beautiful border may be said to indicate 
the endless variety of delightful scenes and objects which orna- 
ment the natural world ; or to denote the great diversities of 
character and incident which checquer the journey of life : and 
the blazing star is " an emblem of Prudence^ the first and most 
exalted object which demands our attention in the lodge. It is 
placed in the center, ever to be present to the eye of a mason, 
that his heart may be attentive to her dictates and stcdfast to her 

The jewels of a lodge are said to be brotherly love ; — or that 
expansive sentiment of universal concord or affection, which 
leads us to regard all men as brethren of the same family — sei-- 
vants of the same Lord — candidates for the same eternity ; — 
bound by every natural and moral tie to seek, not exclusively 
our own, but each other's good : — relief ; which teaches us to 
aid the distressed to the utmost of our power — to soothe the un- 

* Vid, 3. Calm. Diet. Fragm. 145. pi. 2, 

• Hutchinson, p. 75. 


happy — and " to visit the widows and fatherless in their afflic- 
tion ;" — and TRUTH ; which reprobates all hypocrisy, deceit, in- 
sincerity, and every obliquity of motive and action ; and teach-* 
es us constantly to imitate Him who is " the truth and the life." 

The rough ashler, or un wrought stone, is here introduced to 
represent man in his natural state ; and the perfect ashler, or stone 
made ready by the hands of the workman, is an emblem of that 
discipline of education, and preparation of heart and life,without 
which none will be fitted for the right discharge of duty in this 
life, or the enjoyment of happiness in the next. 

Every Lodge is professedly erected to God and dedicated, an* 
eiently to King Solomon, but afterwards to St. John the Baptist, 
and St. John the Evangelist. Whether these holy men actually 
patronized masonry, or whether their names were assumed as 
the patrons of masons, in those times of superstition when every 
sect and fraternity adopted its tutelary saint; are questions 
rather of curiosity than importance. 

The situation of ancient masonic assemblies was said to be on 
the highest hill, or in the lowest vale — by some styled the vale of 
Jehosaphat, or the judgment of the Lord, as the word signifies; — 
these places being, from the earliest ages, reputed holy, and fa- 
vored with the peculiar diffusion of the spirit of God.* 

Such are the most prominent features of the first, or entered 
apprentice's degree of Masonry ; at least, of so much as we are 
permitted to write. The whole is nothing more nor less than a 
regular system of morals and of the first principles, or most gen- 
eral truths of religion ; expressed in a strain of interesting and 
impressive allegory. 

* Ezek. xliii. 12. " Upon the top of the mouniain, the whole limit thereof, 
Mund about, shall be most holy." Thus it is said that " the spirit of God bu- 
ried Moses in a valley m the land of Moab.*" So, on Elijah's translation, the 
^ons of the prophets said to Elisha, '» Behold now there be with thy scrvan(s 
fifty strong men ; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master ; lest per- 
adventure tiie Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast hi.n upon some 
motmlctin, or into some vaUe.}/.'''^ 2 Kin/s ii. 16. Hutchinson, p. 63. 



In the Lecture of the second, or Fellow Craft's degree of 
Masonrj, the initiate is instructed, in the first section, in the 
ceremonies of introduction into this degree, and taught how to 
proceed in their proper arrangement. Here also he is entrusted 
with the particular tests which distinguish him as a fellow-crafts- 
man, and receives satisfactory reasons for their origin. 

The following passage of Scripture is appropriate to the cere- 
monies of this degree. 

Amos vii. 7. 8. " Thus he shewed me ; and behold the Lord 
stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his 
hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou ? And 
I said, a plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold I will set a 
plumb-line in the midst of mj people Israel : I vrill not again 
pass by them any more." 

The emblems specially belonging to this degree are, the phmih, 
square, and level ; from which we deduce this moral instruction. 
T\iQ plumb reminds a mason of that uprightness of conduct which 
becomes his profession — the square again admonishes liim of the 
divine standard to vvhich his life and conduct ought to be adjust- 
ed — and the level teaches him that in the grave all ranks are 
equal — all distinctions arc done away. 

The second section of this Lecture recurs to the origin of our 
institution, and e^^plains the principles on which it is founded. 
The stipulated period for rewardins: merit is fixed, and the moral 
to which that circumstance alludes, is explained. Oucraiive Ma- 
sonry is here spoken of, and proved to be altogether dilTerent 
from our institution, which 1= speculathe, " By speculative Ma- 
sonry we are taught to subdue our passions — act upon the square — 
keep a tongue of good report — maintain secrecy — and pi-actise 
charity. It is so far interwoven with religion, as to lay us under 
obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity which con- 
;^titutes our duty and our happiness. It leads man to view, with 
reverence and admiration, the glorious works of the creation, and 
inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfection of his 
divine Creator."" 

The observation of the seventh day as a Sabbath, and the an- 



tiquitj of this usage, arc here noticed. Our ancient brethren 
consecrated this as a day of rest from their labors, to contem- 
plate the works of God, and to adore him as their Creator. 

In this degree were anciently taught at large those branches of 
science, which probably composed the body of instruction in the 
ancient mysteries : viz. astronomy — geometry — especially the or- 
ders of architecture ; the philosophy of the mind ; grammar^ or the 
principles of language; rhetoric, or the art of speaking; logic — 
arithmetic, and 7nusic, Of these, little more than the definitions 
are now retained ; as, in these respects, Locges have lorg since 
been superseded by other seminaries. But even tnesc slight no- 
tices may not be without their use. They serve to, keep up the 
ancient land-marks of the order. The attentive ear still receives 
the sound from the instructive tongue ; and our mysteries are 
lodged in the repository of the faithful breast. 

The degree of Fellow-Craft formerly included the principal 
fccrets of what is now termed the degree of Mark-Master. 

As the apprentice's degree implies the first knowledge of God, 
acquired by man in a state of nature ; so the degree of fellow- 
craft has reference to the state of the human mind, and to the 
acquaintance of men with their Creator, after the legation of 
Moses, and before the advent of Christ. 

The order of Master Mason is considered as analogous to a 
dispensation far more perfect and sublime. Its ceremonies are 
exceedingly solemn and impressive ; calculated to awaken strong 
feelings of reverential awe, and to excite all the energies of the 
soul to acts of fervent and profound devotion. It recognizes, as 
do the preceding decrees, the existence andsovereignty of Jeho- 
vah ; but the truths it most prominently presents are, the resur- 
rection of the body, and the immortality of the soul. It is also 
considered as plainly indicating the resurrection of the scul, frcm 
the deadly sleep of ignorance of God, and violation of his laws, 
to the life and liberty dispensed by the gospel. 

T\ie first section of the lecture particularly specifies the cere- 
monies used m raising a brother to this sublime degree. 


The following passage of scripture is read during the cere- 
monies : — 

Eccl. xii. 1—7. " Remember now thy Creator in the days 
of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw 
high, w hen thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them : 

" While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not 
darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain : 

" In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and 
the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease be- 
cause they are few, and those that look out of the windows be 
darkened : 

" And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound 
of the grinding is low ; and he shall rise up at the voice of th« 
bird ; and all the daughters of music shall be laid low : 

" Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high ; and 
fears shall be in the w^j, and the almond tree shall flourish, and 
the grass-hopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail ; because 
man goeth to his long Lome, and the mourners go about the 
itreets : 

" Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be 
broken, qr the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the vvheel 
broken at the cistern : 

" Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was ; and the 
spirit shall return unto God who gave it." 

In this section arc iliustrat'jd the implements of this degree^ 
which are those of the preceding degrees, with the addition of 
the troictL From this implement, by adverting to its use among 
operative masons, we are reminded that the materials of society 
are united only by the cement of harmony and social affection ; 
for which virtues masons ought, above all other men, ever to be 

The second section includes an historical tradition belonging to 
this degree ; and exemplifies the nature and extent of masonic 
obligations, by an affecting exam.ple. 

[a prayer used at r a /sing a brother to this decree. 
O God, who knowest oUr dov/n-sitting and our up-rising, and 
Mnderstandest our thoughts afar off; shield and defend us, we 

70 WASTKn. MAso::. 

Immb^y beseech thee, from the evil intentions of our enemicr^ 
and support us under the trials and afflictions wc are destined to 
endure, while traveilino' throu£:h this vale of tears. For man, that 
is born of a woman, is of few days and full of trouble. Ho 
Cometh forth as a fiower, and is cut down ; he fleeth also as a 
shadoAV, and continueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the 
number of his months are w^ith thee, thou hast appointed his 
bounds that he cannot pass : turn from him, that he may rest, till 
he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day. For there is hope 
of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the 
tender branch thereof will not cease. But man dieth and wasteth 
away ; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he ? As the 
waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so 
man licth down, and riseth not up, till the heavens be no" more. 
Yet, O Lord, have compassion on the children of thy creation ; 
administer them comfort in time of trouble, and save them with an 
everlasting salvation. .^we?i.] 

The third section illustrates the remaining emblems belonging to 
this degree, deducing from them, in a happy manner, a variety 
of moral lessons. 

The pot of incense is an emblem of a pure heart, which is an ac- 
ceptable sacrifice to God ; and reminds us that our hearts ought 
continually to glow Vvith gratitude to the beneficent Author of our 
existence and of all our mercies. His omniscience is shewn by 
the figure of an eye ; and the unerring certainty of his justice, by 
a sword pointing to a naked heart. The ark denotes the provi- 
dence of God, which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of 
troubles ; — and the anchor signifies that well-grounded hope 
which is cast within the vail, to secure the soul in the haven of 
eternal rest. 

The hook of constitutions^ gvardcd hy a swcrd^ admonishes us 
ever to be guarded as to all our words and actions, especially 
among the enemies of Masonry ; and impresses upon our mhids 
the value of those two masonic virtues, silence and circumspection. 
The forty-seventh proposition of the first hook of Euclid^ is said to 
have been the invention of Pythagoras, out of respect for whose 


memory it is inserted among our emblems ; teaching us to cher- 
ish the arts and sciences, especially geometry. 

The three steps, delineated in a Lodge, are emblematical of 
youth, manhood, and old age ; and teach us that in youth, as en- 
tered apprentices, we should industriously bend our minds to the 
acquisition of useful knowledge ; which, in manhood, as fellow- 
crafts, w^e ought to apply to the discharge of our respective du- 
ties to our Creator, our neighbor, and ourselves : that in old age, 
as master masons, we m^ay enjoy the consolations of a life spent 
in the service of God. 

The hour-glass reminds us of the rapid flight of time ; — the bee- 
hive teaches the important advantages of improving every mo- 
ment to some useful purpose ; — the scythe indicates the limit of 
our earthly existence : — and the sprig of evergreen denotes that 
principle of living faith, which leads the upright to look forward, 
with hope, to a blissful immortality. " For I know that my Re- 
deemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the 
earth : And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet 
in my flesh shall I see God."* 

Under the emblem of the Sun is desi;Tnatcd the throne of Him, 
the fountain of light and life, " who maketh his angels spirits, 
and his ministers a flame of fire." It was under this symbol that 
the Egyptian, Chaldean, Persian, Jewish and Druid priests taught 
the omnipresence, the omniscience, and the beneficence of the 
Deity. And we shall be less inclined to accuse them of an idol- 
atrous veneration ofjlrc, when we have recollected that the She- 
chinah^ or visible presence of Jehovah in the first temple at Jeru- 
salem, was of this character; and that it was under the appear- 
ance of this element that God mostly manifested himself to his 
favored servants and people.! 

It is apparent, from the preceding considerations, that Masonry 
is not an association of mere operative artists, nor a society insti- 
tuted for purposes of general and undefined beneficence ; — but 

^ Job xix. 25. 26. 

tSee Exod. iii, 2. 4. xiii. 21. xix. 16. 18. xxir. 17.~Namb. :x. 16.~Deut. 
T. 4, 5. 22. 26.— 2 Kings, ii. 11.-2 Chron. vii. 1—3. 


that it is rather " an holy institution" — a mystf r j of ftncient 
times; — teaching, under various figures and symbols, some of 
the most interesting and sublime truths in religion ; — inculcating 
a pure worship of the one living and true God ; — enjoining per- 
sonal holiness — a habit of constant devotion and intercourse with 
heaven ; — the strictest watch over our passions ; — an unbounded 
benevolence to the whole brotherhood of the human family ; — 
an unwearied practice of the most exalted moral virtue ; — and 
the necessity of a faithful and habitual preparation for another 
state of interminable existence. . 

To this comprehensive View of ancient Masonry, we should 
add, that since our order was enlisted, by more express and spe- 
cific engagements into the service of the best of Masters, the 
character of a mason is never complete, till he becomes also a 
Christian, At his first initiation he expressly and openly takes the 
Holy Bible as " the rule and guide of his faith and practice'^'' — 
solemnly engaging to walk by its unerring precepts. From the 
commencement of his masonic career, to its termination in the 
highest degree of Masonry, he hears the duties of the Christian 
religion inculcated with more and more frequency and force, and 
under deeper and more imposing solemnities. No Lodge is con- 
sidered as regularly opened or closed, "" in due and ancient form," 
till the Supreme Architect is addressed in prayer ; and som« 
passages of the Holy Volume are rehearsed during the ceremo- 
nies of initiation and advancement to every degree. No part of 
the volume is rejected as unworthy of regard ; — all is received 
as inspiration from on high — as the tressel board, on which are 
traced the designs of the Master Builder* Such is the venera- 
tion in which it is held, and such the strength of masonic obli- 
gations respecting it, that during the reign of atheism in revolu- 
tionary France, while the Bible was carried in derision through 
their cities, and burnt by the common executioner — the exist- 
ence of the Supreme Being denied, and his worshippers perse- 
cuted and slain — this book of God was still preserved with cau- 
tion in the Lodges of the ancient masons, and accepted, in words 
at least, as the man of their counseL 


How far this veneration of the Bible among the vast numbers 
of masons in France may have contributed to the restoration of 
Christianity in that country, Vv^e presume not to determine. The 
influence of this masonic principle on society, may not be di- 
rectly perceived, but it is not the less extensive or certain in its 
operations. The traditions of one of the degrees of Masonry 
claim, for our Jewish brethren, the merit of concealing the ark, 
and the original copy of the pentateuchy when the temple was de- 
stroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and of recovering them again un- 
der Zerubbabel. Certain it is, that a copy was found about fifty 
years before this destruction, and there is good reason to con- 
clude it was the on\j perfect copy then existing.* And consid- 
ering the history and character of those times, it is not very im- 
probable that the book of the law, found by Hilkiah, continued 
to be the only book of its kind till the captivity. And our tradi- 
tions account for its preservation from Babylonish violence and 
hatred, and for its subsequent discovery, more naturally and prob- 
ably than any hypothesis which has been advanced.! Whatever 
may be the various opinions of the learned — and they are some- 
what divided on this subject — yet many good men entertain the 
opinion that Masonry is one of the means, and ihat not the least 
important, appointed by the providence of God, both for the pre- 
servation of the sacred writings through the long and darksome 
night of ignorance and superstition which spread itself for centu- 
ries over the world, and for their distribution, in these latter 
flays, among all the nations of the earth. 

The reader will have perceived, in the preceeding pages, many 

"* 2 Kings, xxii. 8 — 11. 

+ The arguments on this subject are stated in Mr. Town's book on Specula- 
tive Masonry, Disc. 19. It may not be aoiiss, in tiiis place, to recollect the 
extreme veneration of the Jews for the book of the law, and especially thfr' 
reverence in \^hich they held the incommunicable nanis o[ the Supreme. In 
the regular combinations of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet to express num- 
bers, 15 would be denoted by the letters of this name ; but the Jews express- 
ed this number by those answering to 9 and 6, " lest the name of God, Jah, 
which is written with the same letters, should be profaned." UdalPa Hebreiv 
Grammar, p. 11. edition 1^93. 


points of similarity between our institution and the ancient mys- 
teries before noticed ; and perhaps will be induced to think more 
favorably of our claims to some affinity with those orders. In 
common with them we have the same obligation to secrecy — the 
same oral method, and the same general topics,of instruction — the 
same emblems — the same badge of innocence and purity to be 
worn by noviciates — the same reverence for the Deity — and the 
same allusions to the immortality of the soul. Such an institu- 
tion we suppose existed in Egypt, in Greece, and among the Cel- 
tic nations, and that it owed its origin to the first opposers of idol- 
atry. We conclude farther that it was introduced, with high 
repute, into Judea in the reign of King Solomon ; in whose time, 
it became more intimately connected with architecture, from the 
circumstance that the Greek workmen on the temple were of that 
profession. At the Roman invasion, it was found in Britain, in 
some degrees nearer the purity of the patriarchal stock, in the 
hands of the Druids. These priests were compelled, by the per- 
secutions they endured from their conquerors, to observe the 
greatest secrecy in the celebration of their rites ; — till at length 
both the Druid religion and the Roman superstitions gave way^ 
as their professift|4/ were gradually converted to the gospel of 
Christ. The star of natural religion grew dim, and at length 
vanished, before the sun of revelation. Yet still, the fraternity, 
bound- together by the most solemn obligations, and these 
strengthened by the remembrance of the common danger to 
which they had recently been exposed, continued to assemble, 
at the customary periods, for purposes of charity and brotherly 
love. Masonry contained something too excellent and attrac- 
tive, and its secrets were too curious and valuable, to be aban- 
doned on light grounds. It was a strong bond of union. It pos- 
sessed a key which unlocked the middle chamber of the heart. 
Its secrets always served as letters of recommendation, and to 
the present day have continued to entitle their possessor to the 
benefits of hospitality and protection. At various periods it has 
declined, and sometimes has suffered severe oppression. Des- 
potic governments have always been afraid of secret assemblies ; 


and all the governments of Europe have, in their turns, been des- 
potic, and have enacted laws against such associations.* But by 
persecution, Masonry has never been suppressed ; on the con- 
trary its foundations have been strengthened. Even in times of 
war and anarchy its benign principles have continued their salu- 
tary operation on society, and the order still flourishes with in- 
creasing reputation. 

* In 1735, Masonry was interdicted in Holland by aa edict of the Stales 
General ; but the craft vindicated themselves, and were finally successful. In 
France a similar decree -was passed in 1737, but was eventually forgotten. A 
like persecution was raised about the same time in Germany, by the Empress 
Maria Theresa, but it was defeated at last, by the Enperor Joseph I. In Italy 
the flame broke out with ungovernable rage. A formidable bull was issued 
from the Vatican in 1738, against all who promoted or favored the cause of 
Masonry, threatening excommunication against every offender. This bull was 
followed in 1739,by an edict, denouncing the servitude of the gallies, the rack» 
and a fine of a thousand crowns in gold, againsJ all who attended a masonic 
assembly. These enactments were enforced in 1740, by the Romish clergy in 
Holland, who refused to administer the holy sacrament to any free mason ; 
but the States General were at length induced to prohibit the clergy from ask- 
ing any questions not connected with the religious character of the communi- 
cant. In 1745 an edict still more cruel was issued in Switzerland by the can- 
ton of Berne, prohibiting, under the severest penalties,* all 'assemblies of ma- 
sons, and requiring every mason to accuse himself to th' magistrates. The 
same spirit of intolerant bigotry shewed itself among the Scotch dissenters, in 
1745, in an overture laid before the Synod of Sterling, demanding that body to 
consider whether masons vrere entitled to partake of the holy communion. 
it was remitted to their Kirksessions, who, in 1755, were required to examine 
every candidate suspected to be a mason. The rigor of tiws examination was 
increased in 1757 ; but these proceedings were treated with contempt by the 
Grand Lodge of Scotland, and were soon after abandoned. Fid. Lawrit^n 
Hist. p. 119—135, 



It is wonderful that such an institution has thus outlived every 
other human structure. Of all the ancient orders, this alone has 
survived. The other fraternities of the old world have perished 
with the nations which gave them birth. Some of them seemed 
to have been entitled rather to the appellation of literary institu- 
tions ; — admitting none but the learned ; — and were intended to 
endure while learning should continue to be cultivated among 
men. But learning has always been the object of intense 
pursuit, and its honors the high reward of ardent ambition ; and 
yet even the history of those Societies has become a matter of 
curious research. Others, embracing the whole fraternity of 
architects, might reasonably have been expected to exist as long 
as a taste for the fine or the useful arts. Bi't these arts are still 
patronized, while the labors of those Societies, as well as their 
history, are rapidly passing into oblivion. Others, extending 
more widely their range of members, and bound to the noble 
cause of relieving human sufTering wherever found, have shone 
awhile in meridian effulgence, carrying consolation to many a 
bosom of sorrow. But afflictions are still the portion of man, 
and those associations for his relief have passed away forever. 

But Masonry can boast no attractions greater than those of 
many other societies ; and therefore it is not on this account that 
it has received constant accessions of members. The imposing 
character of its external appearance has been far exceeded by 
that of some other institutions. That outward pomp and splen- 
dor of celebration, which leads captive the senses of the behold- 
er, could not preserve the mysteries of ancient Greece ; and 
they therefore are long since extinct. Neither is the cause of its 
perpetuity to be sought in the secrecy of Masonry ; — for other 
societies have possessed secrets and kept them 5 — and the sccie- 



tics, and tliieir secrets, have perished together/*" Or will it b(f 
said, that becai:ise ours is a religions institution, it has therefore* 
hccn sustained by the rcdigious and moral character of its mem- 
bers ? It is true, ours is a religious institution ; but its members 
are men : and for the errors of her sons, Masonry, as well as 
Christianity, has too much reason to weep. 

Equally fruitless will be our search among the forms of the 
civil governments under v.'hich Lodges have been holden, the 
languages and customs of the different nations, or the laws enact- 
ed for or against the craft. Masonry, in all ages, and in all 
countries in the civilized world, has been equally unaffected by 
the storms of war and persecution, and by the calm of peace ; — 
hy laws made for its preservation, and for its suppression ; — by 
the most unrelenting despotism, and by the wildest licentiousness. 
How has it happened, then, that of all other ancient societies, 
Masonry alone has survived ; and that even of this institution, 
nothing now remains but in name, except the great characteris- 
tics of its religion ? We can offer no satisfactory solution of this 
question, witliout recurring to the mysterious and wise provi- 
dence of God. Masonry has existed to the present day, upheld 
by the strong arm which sustains creation. 

But it is better worth our inquiry, why it has come to pass that 
such an institution, possessing no inherent principle of self-pres- 
ervation, — and supported by meml^ers who do not claim, as a 
body of men, any greater purity of life, or elevation of motive, 
than many other portions of society — should thus have been 
cherished, for so many centuries, by the fostering hand of Heav- 
en ? Our ancient brethren were distinguished for their zeal in the 
dissemination of truth and virtue. They received noviciates, 
and devoted themselves to their instruction. They were partic- 
ularly anxious for the culture of the youthful mind ; and were 
deeply impressed with the importance of the early implanting of 
religious principles. They traversed vast regions to acquire 
«nd to impart useful knowledge. They risked even their lives to 

* The Italian Academy of Secrcls^ fjunded by Baptista Porta : also, some of 
the orders of Knighthood. 


preserve what they regared as the pure worship of God. But if. 
• is a melancholy fact that much of that pristine purity and zeal is 
no more. Masonry, in latter days, has taken no especial interest 
in the propagation of truth ; nor have its votaries been signaliz- 
ed, as a society, for the attainment of so much good as, from its 
structure and professions, the world might justly expect. They 
have even been accused of aiding in the diabolical design to over- 
throw all regular government — to sap the foundations of social 
happiness, — and to deprive the afflicted of their last and best 
consolation. — the hope of futurity. This calumny has been ably 
and fully refuted ; — and yet many will still adduce our indiffer- 
ence to the prevalence and success of true religion, as proof of 
the fact. In some parts of the world, lodges are degenerated in- 
to little better than convivial assemblies. Their revenues are 
perhaps ample enough ; butthej^ are dissipated in idle parade, 
and needlessly expensive ornaments and trappings, or are wasted 
in useless festivities, and carousals. Such lodges evidently have 
forgotten the great principles of the institution, and have widely 
departed from its ancient land-marks* If it is our duty to relieve 
the wants of the poor, it is certainly our duty to provide the 
means of such assistance ; and in this view, every sum paid to a 
lodge as the fees of initiation, should be regarded as a sacred de- 
posit for the benefit of the needy, and for works of charity and 

There are other lodges wliich advance a step farther in the dis- 
charge of masonic duty, and distribute something of their funds 
to relieve the distresses of necessitous brethren. But hov/ little 
is the good thus effected, in coinparison v^ith what moi-e active 
benevolence might achieve ! Such relief is too often precarious 
and desultory as vernal brooks. It is afforded upon the impulse 
of the moment, and ceases with the absence of its object. Ma- 
ny lodges, however, sensible of the necessity of a m.ore perma- 
ment and efficient method of discharging this duty, have appoint- 
ed standing committees to receive applkaiions for pecuniary aid ; 
but few, it is believed, have been specially charged to search oui 
the destitute and the afflicted — to visit the abodes of disease and 


sorrow — and to administer to the wants of that class of the de* 
serving, whose delicacy, or whose patience, lead them rather to 
suffer in secret, than sound the trumpet of their own necessities;^ 

But while we applaud Masonry for all its purposes of benefi- 
cence, it should be remembered that these, which we have enu- 
merated, are all exhausted in the relief of animal suffering. They 
supply the wants of the body only,not reaching the moral diseas* 
es and privations of that nobler part, the soul. A labor so limit- 
ed would by no means seem worthy the high pretensions, and 
the vast resources of our institution ; even if we should effect 
taiore, in personal charities, than any other association. But in 
this sort of merit v/e must admit to full equality, at least, some 
whose means are far less ample, and whose antiquity, compared 
with ours, is but of yesterday. 

If we have truly ascertained the origin,and correctly deduced 
the leading principles,of our order, it is manifest that our obliga- 
tions are not fulfilled by the performance of personal charities 
alone. These, indeed, are not to be neglected ; but something 
more remains to be done. The great purposes of Heaven, in the 
singular preservation of our society,are probably not yet accom- 
plished. It cannot be, that an institution so honorable, so wide- 
ly extended over the earth, and so strong in the wealth and num- 
ber of its members,and in the secrecy and facility and vigor of its 
operations, has been protected by infinite wisdom through the 
perils of so many ages and revolutions, only that, like some pet- 
ty fraternities, it might at length steal silently down to the tomb 
of oblivion. A nobler destiny awaits it. Masonry, like Chris- 
tianity, has slumbered for ages. But Christianity has rent, with 
mighty struggle, the bars of her prison-house ; and beckons to 
her handmaid Masonry to follow her in the bright path of true 
glory and freedom. The genius of sectarian proselytism, which 
disgraced and palsied the efforts of former ages, is departed ; and 
a more celestial spirit now directs the cnei'gies of the christian 
world — the spirit of the gospel of peace. The clouds of igno- 
rance and superstition, which so long have darkened the moral 
world, are rapidly rolling away ; and the Day-Spring from on 


high pours its splendid rays on the souls of men. A new era is 
commenced. We need not look far for proofs of this fact. How 
has it been, that for almost eighteen centuries, the most expen- 
sive efforts were unsuccessfully made to enlighten the heathen, 
while the discovery of the best, and to appearance the only ef- 
fectual method, that of sending forth the Bible alone^ without 
note or comment, has been reserved for the present day ? A- 
midst all the zeal for promoting this great design, which has 
warmed the souls of Christians in all ages before us, it seems 
never to have been discovered, since the times of the primitive 
church, till the present age, that the Bible could speak for itself. 

This great object surely deserves the serious attention of ma- 
sons. If there be any truth in the preceding observations — if 
there be any sincerity in our professions of religion o^ morality — 
if we indeed venerate the Bible as we profess to do — it is surely 
our peculiar duty,and even our exalted privilege, to assume a high 
rank in the noble and glorious work of multiplying copies of this 
''Great Light," and distributing them far and wide through the 
world. We claim to be children of the light ; — and is it to prove 
our title to this appellation, that we quietly suffer the nations 
around us to perish in darkness ? Is the light of Masonry too 
feeble to burst through the dense cloud of cold indifference which 
conceals it? Like the feeble glimmerings of the glow worm, can 
it illuminate no path but its own ? Why does it not beam with 
resplendent glory and shed its cheering influences upon the ends 
of the earth ? 

The sacred book is reverently opened in every lodge ; and 
we are under express obligations to make it " the rule and guide 
of our faith and practice." And can any mason, without deep 
criminality, remain ignorant of its injunctions, or deaf to its ani- 
mating and imperative calls to unwearied activity ? What must 
have been our condition, had such apathy enchained the minds 
and hearts of those worthies who have gone before us ? Is it not 
a prominent article of the faith we profess, that we should teach 
it to others, and thus render its blessings universal ? Like the 
shepherds of Judea, to whom was announced the first intelligence 


of the birth of the great Author of Christianity, does it not esf- 
pecially become us, as christian masons, to " make known abroad 
the saying which was told us concerning" it ? We belong to a 
society, embracing the whole human family in one brotherhood, 
and requiring us to Jo good to all ; consecrating, however, our 
first energies to the household of the faithful. And are all our 
energies to be exhausted among ourselves ? Have we no com- 
passion for our brothers, whose powers are enslaved in the gross- 
est ignorance — who worship rivers, and stones, and offer prayers 
and sacrifice to devils — the rites of whose religion are bloody 
and obscene — and who are the victims of a detestable super- 
stition ? Rather let us open to them the pages of that truth which 
shall make them free indeed. Our ancient brethren assumed, as 
their patrons, the venerable harbinger of the blessed Jesus, and 
that disciple whom he tenderly loved. Ought we not, at least 
for consistency's sake, to spread abroad their principles and im- 
itate xheir example ? They encountered the greatest perils and 
toils — suffered the severest privations — and exhibited the most 
unshaken courage in extending the religion of their Divine Mas- 
ter. What can more clearly evince the propriety of our selec- 
tion of these saints, than our persevering ardor in that cause to 
which they devoted themselves with heroic constancy ? 

It was in the East that the light of Masonry first dawned on 
the world ; and thence it has gladdened us also, in these " goings 
down of the sun." But the East is now in darkness. Science 
is fled ; and superstition holds millions in iron bondage. The 
scenes of the early events of our religion are profaned. The 
tombs of those valorous knights, who contended of old for the 
true faith, are trampled down by infidels. The green banner of 
Mahomet waves with insulting superiority, where the glorious 
standard of Judah once floated in majestic triumph. And ought 
we not, in gratitude to the East, whence our blessings came, to 
reflect on it some portion of the light we enjoy ? Shall the birth- 
place of true religion remain any more a stranger to its divine 
consolations ? 

liCt it not be doubted but these objects arc masonic, and como 


Strictly within the scope and design of our institution.* We fre- 
quently ceIe)3raLte the praises of our Jewish brethren, who built a 
temple to the Most High. If it was a masonic labor, and of such 
elevatec^ in^rit too, thus to spread out and beautify his earthly 
courts, can it l^e less tneritorious, less masomc, to bring v/orship- 
pers to his temple in the Heavens ? 

Our means for the accomplishnient of this sublime undertaking 
are really ample. Besides the resources of affluent members', 
alniost every sjubordinate Lodge has a surplus fund of its own, 
capable of affording extensive aids, and which may be largely 
augmented by the diminution of superfluous expenditures. The 
tributary streams, which are annually poured by the Lodges, 
into the great reservoir of each state and nation, are sufficient, 
when united, to execute any plans which masons may devise for 
the benefit of mankind. And in the vast number of its members, 
scattered among all nations, tongues, and kindreds, yet possessing 
a language intelligible to all, and bound together by indissoluble 
ties of brotherhood, Masonry has a facility of doing good, beyond 
any other human institution. Though its " root wax old in the 
earth, and the stock thereof die, even to the ground," yet, watered 
by the dews of celestial energy, " it will bud, and bring forth 
boughs like a plant." 

Neither let it be supposed that the labor is not great, nor that 
the professors of religion, or the votaries of science and the arts, 
are alone adequate to effect it. How great a portion of the 
world is sunk in ignorance and idolatry, or rendered miserable 
by personal deprivations, and by the incidents of vagrant life I 
If ordinary accounts are deserving of credit, almost the whole 
of Africa, and wide regions of Asia and America, amounting to 
some hundreds of millions of our fellow immortals, demand, from 
these causes, our tenderest sympathy, and our utmost exertions 
for their relief. Shall we leave them to perish in brutal dark- 
ness, destitute of the comforts of civilization, and muttering their 
nightly orisons to " the host of heaven ?" They are regularly 
announced to us, as candidates without the pale of civilized so* 

*Spe Appendix No. V. 


cietj, waiting our permisiion to enter. Such as have heard oi 
the advantages we enjoy, are impatient to possess them. They 
are duly prepared, and properly vouched for. They are an- 
nounced as members of the same great family with ourselves. 
and our aid is earnestly solicited to usher them into light. 

Let us admit them. Let us not rest in cold speculation on the 
principles of morals, or the charms of charity. Let the energies 
of Masonry be poured forth, as a mighty and resistless stream, 
that our institution may be rendered, agreeably to its true spirit. 
an universal blessing. '^ There b no virtue." said the venerable 
Barthelemi. '• there is no virtue \Tithout a sacrifice — no pkihso= 
phy hut in practice.*' 


No. I. 

The manuscript of which the following is a copy, was obtain^ 
ed from the Bodleian library by Mr. Locke and transmitted, 
with his notes annexed, to the Earl of Pembroke. It " appears 
to be about 160 years old, yet is itself a copy of one yet more 
ancient by about 100 years ; for the original is said to have been 
in the hand writing of King Henry VI. Where that prince had 
it is at present an uncertainty ; but it seems to me to be an ex- 
amination (taken perhaps before the king) of some one of the 
brotherhood of Masons, among whom he entered himself, as it 
is said, when he came out of his minority." — See Locke''s letter to 
the Earl of Pembroke dated 6 May^ 1696. 

Certayne Questyons^ with answers to the same, concerning the myste- 
ry ofMaconrye — writene by the hande oj kynge Henrye, the sixthe 
of the name, and faythfullye copyed by me ^Johan Leylande, An- 
tiquarius. By the commaunde of his \Highnesse, 

They be as followethe, 
Quest, What mote ytt be ?\ 
Answ, Ytt beeth tbe skylle of nature, the understondynge of 

the myghte that ys hereynne, and its sondrye werckynges j son- 

*John Leylande was appointed by Henry Vllf. at the dissolution of monaa- 
teries, to search for, and save such books and records as were valuable amocg 
them. He was a man of great labor and industry. 

tHis Higbnesse, meaning the said king Henry VIII. Our kings had not 
then the title of majesty. 

:}:What mote ytt be .?] That i?, what may this mystery of masonry be ?— ' 
The answer imports, that it consists in natural, mathematical, and mechanical 
knowledge. Some part of which fas appears by what follows) the masons pre- 
tend to have taught the rest of mankind, and some part they still coaceal. 



(lerlyche, the skjlle of reckenjngs, of waightes and metynges, 
and the treu manere of faconnynge al thynges for mannes use ; 
headlye, dwellynges, and buyldynges of alle kindes, and al 
odher thynges that make gudde to mannc. 

Quest, Where dyd ytt begyne ? 

Answ. Ytt dyd begynne with the fyrste *menne in the este, 
whych were before the tffyrst manne of the weste, and cc^mynge 
westlye, jii hathe broughte herwyth alle comfortei to the wylde 
and comfortlesse. 

Quest. Who dyd brynge ytt westlye ? 

Answ. The |Venetians, whoo beynge grate merchaundes, 
corned fFyrste fFromme the este ynn Venetia, for the commo- 
dytye of marchaundysynge beithe este and weste, bey the redde 
and myddlelonde sees. 

Quest, Howe comede ytt yn Engelonde ? 

Answ, Peter Gower §a Grecian, journeyedde ffor kunnynge 

*t Fyrste menne yn the este, &c.] It should seem by this that masons be- 
lieve there were men in the east before Adam, who is called " the ffyrste 
manne of the weste ;" and that arts and sciences began in the east. Some 
authors of great note for learning have been of the same opinion ; and it is 
certain that Europe and Africa (which, in respect to Asia, may be called wes- 
tern countries) were wild and savage, long after arts and politeness of manners 
were in great perfection in China, and the Indies. 

XThe Venetians, &c.] In the times of monkish ignorance it is no wonder 
that the Phosnicians should be mistaken for the Venetians. Or, perhaps if 
the people were not taken one for the other, similitude of sound might deceive 
the clerk who first took down the exammation. The Phoenicians were the 
greatest voyagers among the ancients, and were in Europe thought to be the 
inventors of letters, which perhaps they brought from the east with other arts. 

i^Peter Gower.] This must be another mistake of the writer. I was puz- 
zled at first to guess who Peter Gower should be, the name being perfectly 
English ; or how a Greek should come by such a name : but as soon as I 
thought of Pythagoras, I could searce forbear smiling, to find that philosopher 
had undergone a metempsycosis he never dreamt of. We need only consider 
the French pronunciation of his name, Py thagore, that is Petagore, to conceive 
how easily such a mistake might be made by an unlearned clerk. That Py- 
thagoras travelled for knowledge into Egypt, 5cc. is known to all the learned.; 
and that he was initiated into several different orders of priests, who in those 
days kept all their learning secret from the vulgar, is as well known. Pytha- 


yn Egjpte, and yn Syria, and yn everyche londe whereas the 
Venetians hadde plauntedde maconrye, and wynnynge entraunce 
yn al lodges of maconnes, he lerned muche, and retournedde, 
and woned yn Grecia magna'^ wacksynge, and becommynge a 
myghtye jwyseacre, and greatlyche renowned, and her he fram- 
ed a great lodge at Groton,J and maked many maconnes, some 
whereofFe dyd journeye yn Fraunce, and maked manye macon- 
nes, wherefromme, yn processe of tyme, the arte passed yn 

Quest, Dothe maconnes discouer there unto odhers ? 

Answ* Peter Cower, whenne he journeyedde to lernne, was 
ffyrste§ made, and anonne techedde ; evenne soe shulde all 
odhers beyn recht. Natheless ||maconnes hauethe always yn 

goras also made every geometrical theorem a secret, and admitted only sticli 
to the knowledge of them, as had first undergone a live years silence. He is 
supposed to be the inventor of the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid, 
for which, in the joy of his heart, it is said he sacrificed a hecatomb. He also 
knew the true system of the world, lately revived by Copernicus ; and H^as 
certainly a most wonderful man. See his life by Dioiv Hai.. 

•Grecia Magna, a part of Italy formerly so called, in which the Greeks bad 
settled a large colony. 

tWyseacre.] This word at present signifies simpleton^ but formerly had a 
quite contrary meaning. Weisager, in the old Saxon, is philosopher, wiseman, 
or w'zard, and having been frequently used ironically, at length came to have 
a direct meaning in the ironical sense. Thus, Duns Scotus, a man famed for 
the subtility and aeuteness of his understanding, has by the same method oi' 
irony, given a general name to raedern dunces. 

ifGroton.] Groton is the name of a place in Englaijd. The place here 
meant is Crotona, a city of Grecia Magna, which in the time of Pythagoras 
was very populous. 

{Fyrste made.] The word made 1 suppose has a particular meaning among 
the masons ; perhaps it signifies, initiated. 

IJlVTaconnes haueth comraunycatedde, &c.] This paragraph hath something; 
aemarkable in it. It contains a justification of the secrecy so much boasted of 
by masons, and so much blamed by others ; asserting that they have in fall 
ages discovered such things as might be useful, and that they conceal such 
only as would be hurtful either to world or themselves. What these st- 
crets are, we see afterwards. 


cveryche tyrn(*, from tyme to tyme, coinmunicatedde to mann^ 
kynde soche of their secrettes as generallyche myghte be use? 
fulle ; they haueth keped backe soche allein as shulde be 
harmefulle yff they comed yn euylle haundes, oder soche as ne 
mighte be holpynge wythouten the techynges to be joynedde 
herwythe in the lodge, oder soche as do bynde the freres more 
strongelyche together, bey the proffytte and commodytye com^ 
ynge to the confrerie herfromme, 

Quest, Whatte artes haueth the maconnes techedde man- 
kynde ? 

Answ, The artes* agricultura, architectura, astronomia, 
geometria, numeres, musica, poesie, kymistrye, governmente^ 
and relygyonnc. 

Quest. Howe commethe maconnes more teachers than odher 
menne ? 

Answ, The hemselfe haueth allein in tarte of fyndinge neue 
artes, whychc arte the ffyrste maconnes receaued from Godde ; 
by the whyche they fyndethe what artes hem plesethe, and the 
treu way of techynge the same. Whatt odher menne doethe 
ffynde out, ys onelyche bey chaunce, and therforc but lytel I tro. 

Quest, What dothe the maconnes concele aad hyde ? 

Answ. They concelethe the art of ffyndynge neue artes, and 
thattys for here own profFyte, and Jpreise : They concelethe 

*The artes, agricultura, «S:c.] It seems a bold pretence this of the masons, 
that they have taug^ht mankind all these arts. They have their own authori- 
ty for it ; and I know not how we shall disprove them. But what appearie 
most odd is, that they reckon religion among the arts. 

tArte of ffyndino;e neue artes.] The art of inventing arts, must certainly 
be a most useful art. My lord Bacon^'s Novum Organum is an attempt to- 
wards somewhat of the same kind. But I much doubt, that if ever the masons 
had it, they have now lost it ; since so few new arts have been lately invent- 
ed, and so many arc wanted. The idea I have of such an art is, that it must 
be something proper to be applied in all the sciences generally, as algebra is 
in numbers, by the help of which, new rules of arithmetic are, and may be 

:^Preise.] It seems tlie masons have great regard to the reputation, as well 
as the profit ol their order ; since they make it one reason fornot divulging an 
art in com'non, that it may do honor to the professors of it. I think in this par- 
ticular they shew too much regard for their own society, and too little for the 
re-^t of mankind. 

AP^teNDIX. 85 

the art of kepynge *secrettes, thatt so the worlde mayeth noth- 
inge concele from them. They concelethe the art of wunder* 
werckynge, and of foresayinge thynges to comme, thatt so thay 
same artes may not be usedde of the wyckedde to an euyell 
ende ; thay also concelethe the tarte of chaunges, the wey of 
wynnynge the facultj^e |of Abrac, the skylle of becommynge 
gude and parfyghte wythouten the holpynges of fere and hope ; 
and the universelle §longage of maconnes. 

Quest. Wyll he teche me thay same artes ? 

Answ. Ye shalle be techeddeyffye be warthye, and able to 

Quest, Dothe al maconnes kunne more then odder menne ? 

Answ. Not so. Thay onlyche haueth recht and occasyonne 
more then odher menne to kunne, butt maney doeth fale yn ca- 

*Arte of keepyng secrettes ] What kind of an art this is, I can by no means 
imagine. But certainly such an art the masons must have : For though, as 
some people suppose, they should have no secret at all, even that must be a 
secret which being discovered would expose them to the highest ridicule ; 
and therefore it requires the utmost caution to conceal it. 

f Arte of chaunges.] I know not what this means; unless it be the transmu- 
tation of metals. 

^Facultye of Abrac] Here I am utterly in the dark. 

jUniverselle longage of maconnes.] An universal language has been much 
desired by the learned of many ages. It is a thing rather to be wished than 
hoped for. But it seems the masons pretend to have such a thing among them. 
If it be true, I guess it must be something like the language of the Pantomimes 
among the ancient Romans, who are said to be able, by signs only, to express 
and deliver any oration intelligibly to men of all nations and languages. A 
man who has all these arts and advantages, is certainly in a condition to be 
envied : but we are told, that this is not the case with all masons ; for though 
these arts are among them, and all ha^e a right and opportunity to know 
them, yet some want capacity, and others industry to acquire them. Howev- 
er, of all their arts and secrets, that which 1 most desire to kno^v is, "the 
skylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte ;" and I wish it were communicat- 
ed to all mankind, since there is nothing more true than the beautiful sentence 
contained in the last answer, " That the better men are, the more they love 
one another." Virtue having in itself something so amiable as to charm the 
Siearts all that behold it. 



pacity, and maney more doth want industrye, thatt ys pepncces- 
aryefjr the gaynyge all kunnynge. 

Quest, Are maconnes gudder menne then odhtrs ? 

Answ, Some maconnes are not so vertuous as some other 
menne ; but, yn the moste parte, they be more gude than they 
woulde be yf thay war not maconnes. 

Quest, Doth maconnes love eidthep odher myghtylye as 
beeth sayde ? 

Answ^ Yea verylyche, and yt may not odherwise be ; For 
gude menne and treu, kennynge eidher odher to be soche, doeth 
always love the more as thay be more gude. 

Here endetheihc Quesiyonnes, and Awnsxi'eres. 


To explain the old words in the foregoing Manuscript, 

Mlein, only 
Mweys, always 
Beithe, both 

Commodylye, conveniency 
Confrerie, fraternity 
Taconnynge^ forming 
Tore-saying, prophecyyig 
Freres, brethren 
Seadlye, chiefly 
Hemplesethe, they please 
Scmselfe, themselves 
^er, there, their 
Herynne, therein 
Nerwyth, with it 
Holpynge, beneficial 
Kunne, know 
Kunnynge, knowledge 
Makegudde, are beneficial 
Metynges, measures 
Mote, may 
Myddlelonde, Mediterranean 

Myghte, power 
Occasyonne, opportunity 
Oder, other 
Onelyche, only 

Pernecessarye, absolutely neces- 

Preise, honor 
Recht, right 
Reckenyngs, numbers 
Sonderlyche, particularly 
SJcylle, knowledge 

Wacksynge, growing 

Werck, operation 

Wey, way 

Whereas, where 

JVoned, dwelt 

Wundtrwerckynge, working mir 

Wylde, savage 

Wynnynge, gaining 

Ynn, into. 


No, IL 

4. list of the principal Grand Masters of Masons in England, tQ 
the time of King George II. extracted from Dr. Anderson's list 
prepared by the order and with the approbation of the Grand 
Lodge of England, A. D. 1735, 

St. Alban, * - - 

King Alfred, 

Ethred, King of Mercia, 

Ethelward, - . . 

Prince Edwin, 

St. Dunstan, _ . . 

Leofrick, Earl of Cov,entry, 

Gundulph, Bp. of Rochester, 

Roger de Montgomery, 

Gilbert de Clare, Marquis of Pembroke, 

Peter de Colechurch, - '. - 

Bishop of Winchester, - - - 

Archbisftop of York, - . - 

Earl of Gloucester, . . _ 

Ralph, Lord of Mount Hermer, 

Bishop of Exeter, .... 

John de Spoulee, Master of the GhibHm, 

Bishop of Winchester, . , - 

Robert a Barnham, 

Henry Yevele, - - - - 

Langham, Abbot of Westminster, 
Earl of Surry, - _ . . 
Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
King Henry VI. . - - . 
Wanefleet, Bishop of Winchester, 
Beauchamp, Bishop of Sarura, 
King Henry VII. - - _ - 
Cardinal Wolsey, - , - . 
Thomas Cromwell, E, of Essex, 

A. D. 






















































A. D. 

LordAudley, - - 1640 

Duke of Somerset, ------ 1547 

Bishop of Winchester, 1652 

Sir Thomas Sackville, 1561 

Earl of Bedford, - - - - - ' 1567 

Sir Thomas Gresham, 1570 

Earl of Effingham, . - - - ab. 1575 

Earl of Huntington, - - * - - 1588 

King James I. 1603 

Under whom were 

Inigo Jones, 1603 

Earl of Pembroke, 1618 

King Charles I. ----,- 1625 

Under whom were. 

Earl of Pembroke, - - - - - - 1625 

EarlofDanby, 1630 

Earl of Arundel, 1632 

Earl of Bedford, 1635 

Inigo Jones, .-.-.- ab. 1636 

King Charles II. 1660 

Under whom were, 

Earl of St. Alban's - - , - - - - 1660 

Earl of Rivers, 1666 

Duke of Buckingham, 1674 

Earl of Arlington, 1679 

Sir Christopher Wren, 1685 

King William III. 1693 

Under whom were, 

Duke of Richmond, 1695 

Sir Christopher Wren, 1698 

Anthony Say er, Esq. » - - - - 1718 

George Payne, Esq. 1718 

Dr. Desaguliers, 1719 

Duke of Montagu, 1721 

Duke of Wharton, 1723 


A. D. 

Duke of Buccleugh, - 1723 

Duke of Richmond, . - - - - 1724 

Earl of Abercorn, 1725 

Grand Masters of Scotland, from the time of King James I. to 
James VI. 

King James 1 1424 

St. Clair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness, - - 1441 

Sir Robert Cockeran. - - . - - 1474 

Alexander, Lord Forbes, 1480 

Elphinston, Bishop of Aberdeen, . . • 1494 

Gavin Dunbar, ab. 1 500 

Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, . . i . 1581 
Ci'cighton, Abbot of Holyrood-house, . . 1522 

Earl of Lindsay, 1527 

Sir David Lindsay. .... till 1542 

Andrew Stuart, Lord Ochilree. 

Sir James Sandilands. 

Hamilton, Lord Paisley, who initiated 

King James VL 

No. III. 

C(ypy of a record written in the reign of King Edward IV, and pre- 
served in the collection of Mr, Ashmole, 
" That thovgh the ancient records of the brotherhood in Eng- 
land were many of them destroyed, or lost, in the wars of the 
Saxons and Danes, yet king Athelstane, (the grandson of king 
Alfred the Great, a mighty architect,) the first anointed king 
of England, and who translated the Holy Bible into the Saxion 
tongue, (A. D. 980,) when he had brought the land into rest and 
peace, built many great works, and encouraged many Masons 
from France, who were appointed overseers thereof, and brought 
with them the charges and regulations of the lodges, preserved 



since the Roman times, who also prevailed with the king to im= 
prove the constitution of the English lodges according to the for- 
eign model, and to increase the wages of working Masons. 

" That the said king's brother, prince Edwin, being taught Ma- 
sonry, and taking upon him the charges of a Master-Mason, for 
the love he had to the said craft, and the honourable principles 
whereon it is grounded, purchased a free-charter of king Athel- 
stane, for the Masons having a correction among themselves, (as 
it was anciently expressed,) or a freedom and power to regulate 
themselves, to amend what might happen amiss, and to hold a 
yearly communication and general assembly. 

" That accordingly prince Edwin summoned all the Masons 
in the realm to meet him in a congregation at York, who came, 
and composed a general lodge, of which he was Grand Master ; 
and having brought with them all the writings and records ex- 
tant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other 
languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the 
constitution and charges of an English lodge, made a law to pre- 
serve and observe the same in all time coming, and ordained good 
pay for working masons, &c." — See Preston, p* 141, note. 

No. IV. 


The ways of science are beautiful. Knowledge is attained by 
^degrees. Wisdom dwells with contemplation. There are we to 
seek her. Though the passage be difficult, the farther we pro- 
ceed the easier it will become. 

If we are united, our society must flourish. Let all things give 
place to peace and good fellowship. Uniting in the grand de- 
sign, let us be happy in ourselves, and endeavor to contribute to 
the happiness of others. Let us promote the useful arts ; and by 


them mark eur superiority and distinction. Let us cultivate the 
moral virtues ; and improve in all that is good and amiable. Let 
the genius of Masonry preside over our conduct ; and under its 
sovereign sway let us act with becoming dignity. Let our recre- 
ations be innocent, and pursued with moderation. Never let us 
expose our character to derision. Thus shall we act in conform- 
ity to Our precepts, and support the name we have always borne. 
of being a respectable, a regular, and an uniform society. 


You are now to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue 
to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employ- 
ments, forget not the duties you have heard so frequently incul- 
cated and forcibly recommended in this Lodge. Be diligent, 
prudent, temperate, discreet. Remember, that around this altar 
you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother, who 
shall need your assistance. Remember, that jou have promis- 
ed to remind him, in the most tender manner, of his failings, and 
aid his reformation. Vindicate his character, when wrongfully 
traduced. Suggest in his behalf the most candid and favorable 
circumstances. Is he justly reprehended ? — let the world ob- 
serve how Masons love one another. 

These generous principles are to extend farther. Every hu- 
man being has a claim upon your kind offices. " Do good unto 
ail.'' Recommend it more " especially to the household of the 


By diligence in the duties of your respective callings, by liber- 
al benevolence and diffusive charity, by constancy and fidelity in 
your friendships, discover the beneficial and happy effects of this 
ancient and honorable institution. 

Let it not be supposed that you have here '* labored Id vain, 
and spent your strength for nought; for your work is with the 
Lord, and your recompense with your God." 

" Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace, and 
may the God of love and peace delight to dw^U with and to bless 
vou !" 



I congratulate you on being accepted into our ancient and 
honorable order. Ancient^ as having subsisted from time imme- 
morial ; and honorable, as tending to render all men so, who will 
conform to its precepts. 

As a gentleman and a Mason, you are bound to be a strict ob- 
server of the moral law, and to regulate your life and actions by 
its precepts. 

In the state, you are to be a quiet and peaceable subject. You 
are never to countenance disloyalty or rebellion ; but yield your- 
self, and encourage in others, a cheerful conformity to the gov- 
ernment, under which you live. 

You are to be particularly careful, in your intercourse with the 
world, to avoid all censure and reproach. 

Let not interest, favor, or prejudice, bias your integrity, or in- 
fluence you to be guilty of a dishonorable action ; but let your 
whole conduct be regular and uniform, and suitable to the digni- 
ty of this laudable profession. 

Be eminent, for the practice of benevolence and charity ; those 
distinguishing characteristics of this venerable institution. 

Study the principles, and be distinguished in the virtues of the 

A punctual attendance on our assemblies is required. Your 
improvement and your happiness will be promoted by it. Yet 
Masonry is not meant to interfere with your necessary vocations ; 
for these are on no account to be neglected. At your leisure 
hours, it is expected that you will apply to well informed breth- 
ren, who will be alwoys as ready to give, as you will be to re- 
ceive instruction. 

If ever, in the circle of your acquaintance, you may find one 
desirous of being accepted among Masons, you are to be partic- 
ularly attentive not to recommend him, unless you are convinced 
he will conform to our rules ; that the honor, glory, and reputa- 
tion of our institution may be firmly established, and the world 
at, large convinced of its benign influence. 


Erother, we again bid you welcome to all the pleasures of this 
affectionate and happy fraternity, 


You are now admitted, by the unanimous consent of our lodge, 
a fellow of our most ancient and honorable society 5 ancient, as 
having subsisted from time immemorial ; and honorable, as 
tending, in every particular, to render a man so v/ho will be but 
conformable to its glorious precepts : The greatest and most 
celebrated characters, in all ages and countries, have been en- 
couragers of the royal art ; and many of them have presided as 
Grand-Masters over Masons ; not thinking it any lessening to 
their dignities, to level themselves with their brethren in Mason- 
ry, and to act as they did. 

The world's great architect is our Supreme Master ; and the 
unerring rule he has given us, is that by which we work ; reli- 
gious disputes are never suffered within the lodge, for as Masons 
we only pursue that universal religion, which unites the most dif- 
ferent principles in one sacred band, and brings together those 
who were the most distant from one another. 

There are three general heads of duty which Masons ought 
always to inculcate, viz. to God, our neighbor, and ourselves : to 
God, in never mentioning his name but with that reverential awe 
which a creature ought to bear to his Creator, and to look upon 
him always as the Summum Bonum v/hich we cam.e into the world 
to enjoy, and according to that view to regulate all our pursuits : 
to our neighbors, in acting upon the square, or doing as we 
would be done by : to ourselves, in avoiding all intemperance 
and excesses, whereby we may be rendered incapable of follow- 
ing our work, or led into behavior unbecoming our laudable 
profession, and always keeping within due bounds ; and free from 
all pollution. 

* This very old Chargfe is retained with only one or two verbal alterations. 
It is in general use in all the lodges ; and is familiar to every brother. To al 
ter, would be to weaken its effect. 


In the state, a Mason is to behave as a peaceable and dutiful 
subject, conforming cheerfully to the government under which he 

He is to pay a due deference to his superiors ; and from his 
inferiors he is rather to receive honor with some reluctance, than 
to extort it : he is to be a man of benevolence and charity, not 
sitting down contented, while his fellow creatures, but much more 
his brethren, are in want, v/hen it is in his power, without preju- 
dicing himself or family, to relieve them. 

In the lodge, he is to behave with all due decorum, lest the 
beauty and harmony thereof should be disturbed or broken : he 
is to be obedient to the master and the presiding officers, and to 
apply himself closely to the business of Masonry, that he may the 
sooner become a proficient therein, both for his own credit and 
for that of the lodsre. 


He is not to neglect his own necessary avocations for the sake 
of Masonry, nor to involve himself in quarrels with those who, 
through ignorance, maj speak evil of, or ridicule it. 

He is to be a lover of the arts and sciences, and is to take all 
opportunities to improve himself therein. 

If he recommends a friend to be made a Mason, he must vouch 
him to be such as he really believes will conform to the aforesaid 
duties, lest, by his misconduct at any time, the lodge should pass 
under some evil imputations. 

Nothing can prove more shocking to all faithful Masons, than 
to see any of their brethren profane, or break through the sa- 
cred rules of their order ; and such as can do it, they wish had 
never been admitted. 


Being now advanced to the second degree of Masonry, we 
congratulate you on your preferment. 

Your past behaviour and regular deportment has merited the 
additional honor which we have now conferred ; and, in this new 
character, it is expected that you v/ill not only conform to the 


principles of Masonry, but steadily persevere in the practice of 
every commendable virtue. 

As the solemnity of our ceremonies requires a serious deport- 
ment, you are to be particularly attentive to your behaviour in 
our regular assemblies ; to preserve the ancient usages and cus^ 
toms of the fraternity sacred and inviolable ; and induce others, 
by your example, to hold them in due veneration. 

Our laws and regulations you are to support and maintain ; 
and be ever ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You 
are to judge with candor, to admonish with friendship, and to 
reprehend with justice. 

In our private assemblies, you may offer your sentiments and 
opinions on such subjects as are agreeable to the tenets of Ma- 
sonry. By the exertion of this privilege, you may improve 
your rational and intellectual powers ; qualify yourself to be- 
come an useful member of society ; and endeavor to excel in 
every thing that is good and great. 

* Every regular sign or summons, given and received, you 
are duly to honor, and punctually to obey. You are cheerfully 
to reheve the necessities of your Brethren. On no account are 
you to injure a Brother, or to see him injured ; but you are 
to apprise him of all approaching dangers, and consider his 
interest as inseparable from your own. 

Such is the nature of your present engagements ; and to these 
duties you are now bound by the most sacred ties, 


Your zeal for our institution, the progress you have made, and 
your stedfast conformity to our useful regulations, have pointed 
you out as a proper object for this peculiar mark of our favor. 

Duty, honor, and gratitude, now bind you to be faithful to 
every trust ; to support the dignity of your character on all oc- 
casions. Exemplary conduct on your part will convince the 

•This and the following paragraph are to be emitted, if previously used ia 
th« course of the eeremony. 


world, that merit is the just title to our privileges, and that on 
you our favors are not undeservedly bestowed. 

To preserve unsullied the reputation of the Fraternity, ought 
to be your constant care : and therefore it becomes your prov- 
ince to caution the inexperienced. To your inferiors, you are 
to recommend obedience and submission ; to your equals, 
courtesy and affability ; to your superiors, kindness and conde- 
scension. Universal benevolence, you are zealously to in- 
culcate ; and, by the regularity of your own conduct, to remove 
every aspersion against this venerable institution. Our ancient 
landmarks, you are carefully to preserve ; and not suffer, on 
any pretence, a deviation from c^* established usages and cus- 

toms. jiIj^:'^^ D^'-ia^l 

Your virtue, honor, and/Myutation, are concerned, in support* 
ing,with dignity, thfYTchj^acter you now bear. Be true and faith- 
ful, and imitate'l^ja^^^mple of that celebrated artist, whom you 
.have this evening represented. Thus you will render yourself 
deserving of the honor which we have conferred, and worthy of 
the confidence which we have reposed. 

No. y. 

The following extract shews the liberal construction which 
our brethren on the Eastern Continent have given to their obli- 
gations as masons, and strongly fortifies the preceding observa- 
tions : — 
"In Germany,Denmark, and Sweden,charity schools were erect- 
ed by the lodges, for educating the children of free masons, whose 
poverty debarred them from this advantage. In that which was 
formed at Brunswick, they were instructed even in classical 
learning, and various branches of the mathematics. — At Eisenach 
several seminaries of this kind were established. The teachers 
were endowed with fixed salaries, and in a short time after their 
institution, they had sent into the world 700 children instructed 



in the principles of science^ and the doctrines of Christianity, in 
1771 an establishment of a similar kind was formed at Cassel, in 
which the children were maintained and educated till they could 
provide for themselves. In 1773 the united lodges of Dresden, 
Leipsic and Gorlitz erected at Frederickstadt a seminary of 
learning for children of every denomination, in the electorate of 
Saxony. The masonic subscriptions were so numerous, that the 
funds of the institution were sufficient for its maintenance : and 
in the space of five years above 1 100 children received a liberal 
education. In the same year an extensive work-house was erect- 
ed at Prague, in which the children were not only initiated into 
the first principles of learning, but into those branches of the 
useful and fine arts which might qualify them for commercial and 
agricultural stations. It deserves to be remarked, that the foun- 
ders of these institutions, amid their anxiety for the public pros- 
perity, never neglected the spiritual interest of the children. They 
saw that ^arly piety is the foundation of all that is useful and honor- 
able in life ; and that, zoithout this, speculative knowledge and prac- 
tical skill are of little avail,''' Vid, Lawrie's Hist, p. 137. 138. 

Our English brethren, in 1788, instituted the Royal Cumber- 
land Free-Mason's School, " to train up children in the knowl- 
edge of virtue and religion ; in an early detestation of vice and its 
unhappy consequences ; in industry, as necessary to their con- 
dition ; and to impress strongly on their minds a due sense of 
subordination, true humility, and obedience to their superiors," 
Vid, Preston's Illustrations, p. 289. 290. 

In New- York a plan was laid in 1809, and has since been in 
constant execution, by which fifty poor children of masons are 
gratuitously educated. The school is supported by a contribu- 
tion often dollars a year from each lodge in the city, and eighty 
dollars more from the Grand Lodge. Hardie's Monitor, p. 242. 

The C/in'shan character of Masonry was familiar to the fra- 
ternity in Europe many years before. 

" In 1765 a splendid apartment was erected at Marseilles foi 
the accommodation of the brethren. It was adorned with the 
finest paintings, rcprcsentinaithe most intorestine: scenes that oc 


tur in the history of the Old and New-Testaments, and calculat- 
ed to remind the spectator of his various duties as a man, a sub- 
ject, and a Christian,'^'' Lawrie's Hist, p. 134. 

But a more perfect development of the true genius and ten- 
dency of our venerable order, has been reserved for the Grand 
Lodges of America. It has already commenced in various plans 
of beneficence, and especially in the systematic aid they have 
begun to afford to the work of sending forth the Bible to all na- 
tions of the earth. 

In the summer of 1818, a memorial on this subject, from the 
present and past District Deputy Grand Masters, and Masters of' 
Lodges, of the ninth masonic District,was addressed to the Grand 
Lodge of Massachusetts ; praying the stated appropriation of a 
portion of its revenues, to the translation, printing, and distribu- 
tion of the Bible. This request could'not specifically be grant- 
ed, because those funds were pledged, by the constitution, to a- 
nother purpose ; but the sentiments of the petitioners received a 
full response in that part of the excellent report of their commit- 
tee which was accepted by the Grand Lodge, and which is as fol- 
lows : — 

'• We feel, in all their force, the admirable sentiments of this 
memorial, and recognize the high and sacred claim of the re- 
cords of our Divine Religion, to our veneration and attachment. 
We place on the altar of our consecrated temple, the Holy Bi- 
ble, as its most precious oblation, and its richest ornament. We 
press the hand of the initiate, when he first kneels there, upon its 
unfolded pages, as the guaranty of his fidelity and truth ; and 
we open his before darkened eyes upon its heaven-inspired pa- 
ges, that there they maj^ ever look for light and instruction. We 
realize that we are all dii-ected to take that blessed volume as 
our best, our only sure and safe guide, through the obscurity of 
this mortal sojourn, to the regions of light ineffable and bliss eter- 
nal. We realize that the truths contained in this word of life 
are all important to the knowledge, the virtue and happiness of 
mankind. IVe most earnestly desire its universal diffusion ; that 
it may he read in all languages^ communicate its most needed and 



salutary information to every human understanding, and its sanctify- 
ing influences to every heart. And we most devoutly and fervently im- 
plore the blessing of Almighty God upon all endeavors which are mak- 
ing by individuals and societies, at the present day, to distribute the 
Bible to the various nations on the globed 

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, having thus, in a manner 
so honorable to itself, given its open suffrage to the cause, and 
invoked the blessing of Almighty God in its favor ; no doubt can 
be entertained but it will, at an early period, either remove the 
restrictions mentioned in the report, or devise some other method 
to give its ennobling principles an extensive practical operation. 

About the same time, a proposed mission to Jerusalem excited 
the attention, and received the cordial support, of the fraternitj^ 
Our respected brother, the Rev. Pliny Fish, visited the Lodges 
of the South, with the most encouraging credentials. The offi- 
cers of the Grand Lodge of Georgia expressed their unquaUfied 
approbation of the object of his mission ; it being, " with God's 
permission, to preach and to teach the doctrines of the Holy Scripture, 
the Great Light of Masonry, among the Mahometans of the East, 
and aid the other missionaries in that section of the globe in their 
benevolent objects :" — and they recommended to the Lodges un- 
der their jurisdiction to contribute liberally of their funds. And 
the Grand Officers oi North Carolina, recommending a similar 
appropriation of the funds of their Lodges " to translate, print, 
and distribute the Bible," — add, i\\d.\.'" sufficient assurance hd,?> 
been given us that the bestowment shall be applied as herein 
specified, and that the Bible shall be without note or comment — 
the object being not to inculcate the opinions of a sect, but to df- 
fust the principles of the Prince of Peace,''' The letter of the Grand 
Officers of Georgia bears date Jan, 20, 1819, and that of the 
Grand Officers of A'*orf/i Carolina is of June 15, 1819. 

The Grand Lodge of New Hampshire have regarded our ma- 
sonic obligations in the same light ; as appears from the printed 
summary of their proceedings inGencfal Assembly in J«r?€,lB18. 
The Grand Master, in his address to the Lodges, after seating 
some causes which would prevent any considerable increase of 



ihe future revenues of the Grand Lodj^e, proceeds thus'^; — " To 
remedy this inconvenience, the Grand Master would suggest to 
the several Lodges the propriety of making donations to the 
Grand Lodge, fo]' certain specified purposes ; and that proper 
officers of the Grand Lodge be instructed to dispose of the same 
according to the intent of the donors. The gratuitous distribution 
of the Holy Scriptures ; assistance to indigent young men of our fra- 
ternity in completing an education which will qualify them for pub- 
lic usefulness ; also encouragement to those pious masons who have 
gone, or may go, as missionaries among the heathen, are certainly sub- 
jects zvhich deserve the attentive consideration of our charitable order* 
Contributions for these, or the like purposes, would reflect honor 
on the masonic institution, would serve to allay prejudices, and 
conciliate the esteem of those that are without ; and might prove 
the means, under Providence, of essential benefit to mankind." 

The earliest actual appropriation of the funds of any Grand 
Lodge, is believed to have been made by that of Vermont. Prior 
to June, 1818, with a promptitude which will always be mention- 
ed in their praise, they approjiriated one hundred dollars to the 
Vermont Bible Society ; and thirty dollars more to the Ameri- 
can Bible Society, to make their Grand Chaplain a member for 
life. And in the following year they adopted the following res- 
olution : — 

" In Grand Lodge at Montpelier, Oct. \'2,A, L, 5819. 

" Resolved, That this Grand Lodge consider the translating, 
printing, and distributing of the Holy Scripture without note or 
comment, to be an object of great importance, as tending to pro- 
mote the happiness of man in this world, and his eternal felicity 
in that v/hich is to come." 

Do not our obligations extend farther, and require our utmost 
exei'tions to promote '^ on earth peace, good will towards 
MEN f ' Our institution is of a nature eminently pacific. Is not the 
instrument of strife and contention studiously kept without the 
lodge ? Is any thing ofleasive or defensive suffered to come with- 
in that " sacred retreat of friendship and virtue.?*' What is a 
loflgc said to represent, but tiic wItoIc world ? Do avc not regard 


all men as our brethren ? And with what consistency can masons 
countenance offensive war, or wield the instruments of death ? Are 
we not, in a most affecting manner, enjoined to preserve our badg- 
es " unspotted from the stain of innocent blood ?" And of all the 
blood shed in mortal combat, what portion can we say is not in- 
nocent ? The women, and children, and the aged, and the private 
citizen who perish in war, are they guilty ? Do they, individual- 
ly, deserve death at our hands ? Nay, even the whole multi- 
tude of people, w^ho have no agency in the declaration of war, 
and who are not actually found in the field in array against our 
own lives, is the charge of guilt justly to be fixed on them, and do 
they also deserve to be involved in the doom of slaughter ? Was 
not David forbidden to erect the temple, merely because he had 
been a " man of blood f ' And how can a mason be regarded as a 
perfect ashler^ or stone fitted for " that spiritual building," w^hile 
engaged in, or encouraging, a similar occupation ? These ques- 
tions are of deep importance to the craft and to the world ; and 
to pass them unanswered, even in our own bosoms, would be a 
perilous omission of duty. 

It deserves remark that these movements in various parts of 
America seem to have been spontaneous, and not the effect of any 
previous concert. The attention of the whole fraternity is ex- 
cited to a consideration of their duties ^s masons^ and the result 
of the examination is every where the same. It is impossible 
that the impulse thus given should ever be controlled ; and the 
period may be considered as near at hand, when a correspon- 
dence on this subject will be opened among all the Grand Lodges 
in the old and new w^orlds ; and their energies combined in exe- 
cution of the same general plans for enlightening and civilizing 
the w^orld. 

The number of Lodges in the United States may be rated at 
800,* on a very moderate computation ; and they probably ini- 
tiate 4000, or five on the average, to each Lodge, annually. 
There are few Lodges where the fees for conferring the three 
first degrees are less than 20 dollars, and many where they 

• Since ascertained to be 854. 


are higher ; so that 20 dollars may be taken as the aver- 
age price paid by each candidate, amounting in the whole to 
80,000 dollars annually. This sum may be considered as clear 
revenue ; because every well regulated Lodge derives from its 
quarterly assessments sufficient money to defray all its current 
expenses, and its quarterly dues to the Grand Lodge; — because 
the fees for conferring any degree above that of Master Mason 
are not taken into the estimate ; — and because the Grand Lodges 
may generally be supported by the quarterly dues of the Lodg- 
es, and the fees paid on granting charters. Yet if from this sum 
we deduct one fourth part, in order to cover all miscellaneous 
and extraordinary expenses — it may still be safely asserted,that 
the Lodges of the United States are able, without an effort^ to ex- 
pend at least sixty thousand dollars annually in beneficence 
to mankind. 


It was not intended to enlarge this appendix by the addition 
of aaj statements of what had been done by private Lodges,eith- 
er in pecuniary reHef, or in any other works of beneficence. 
These labors are well known to be extensive. There are certain- 
ly but few lodges in New-England that have not already made 
donations to the Bible Society, or to some other association con- 
nected with the diffusion of light; and the lodges of the South 
have been equally liberal in support of the mission to Jerusalem. 
But it was deemed unnecessary to publish dniy account of these 
benefactions at this time. Should the present attempt prove 
acceptable to the fraternity, a more extended view of our institu- 
tion, especially relating to the higher degrees, will be given here- 
after. But at the suggestion of several valued friends, the fol- 
lowing correspondence is- inserted, as furnishing an excellent 
practical application of the principles of our order as stated in 
the preceding pages. 

From Jordan Lodge^ of Danvers^ io Rev, Daniel Poor, Missionary 

at Ceylon, 


It was with the greatest pleasure, that the Lodge of Free and 
Accepted Masons, in your native town, received the information 
that you and your Missionary Brethren, became members of our 
ancient and honorable institution, previous to your leaving New- 
bury port. To a person of your pious and benevolent disposition, 
we feel confident that it must have been highly gratifying to have 
learned that there existed a Society, branches of which are found 
in every civilized country on the globe, the design of which is . 
the promotion of those glorious objects, to which you have de- 
voted your life ;-— " Glory to God, peace on earth, and good zcill to 
all mankind,'''' That the masonic institution has in past ao-es done 


much to soften the ferocity of savage man, to diffuse the light of 
science, the blessings of civilization, and the benign principles of 
the holy religion of the Prince of Peace, cannot be doubted by 
any acquainted with its principles, its traditions, and its history. 
At this time, when the Christian world are making unparalleled 
exertions to carry the arts of peace, and the glad tidings of salva- 
tion to the remotest corners of the earth ; when Bible^ Missionary^ 
Peace, and other Societies, designed to ameliorate the condition of the 
human race, are rapidly multiplying, surely we as members of the 
most ancient and most extensive of them all, should be highly inexcu- 
sable, were we to stand idle spectators of that glorious work, which 
Free-masonry was especially designed and peculiarly calculated to 

Christians have unfortunately long been divided into sects so 
much at variance with each other, that the propagation of their 
own particular tenets, has been deemed by most, of far greater 
importance, than the turning of the heathen from the worship of 
idols, from superstitions the most cruel and abominable, to the 
knowledge of the true God, to the glorious liberty wherewith 
Christ has made his followers free. These sectarian prejudices, 
which have for ages retarded the diffusion of Christianity, we now 
confidently hope are fast passing away. — Christians, forgetting 
their former animosities, are now uniting their efforts to send the 
Bible and its accompanying blessings to all, wherever they may 
be found, who are perishing for want of knowledge. We hail this 
as a happy omen of the final triumph of those principles of charitable 
toleration, which have from time immemorial, constituted a chief piU 
lar in the masonic edifice. 

Ignorance is the parent and nurse of superstition. In all hu- 
man probability, comparatively little benefit will result from the 
distribution of the Scriptures among the heathen, unless their 
minds are prepared by education to estimate their value. It has 
given us peculiar pleasure to learn, that the Missionary Society, 
under whose patronage you have gone forth, are zealously engag- 
ed in providing for i\ie education of the children of the heathen of 
India and elsewhere. This we conceive, is acting like the good 


husbandman, who prepares the soil by assiduous culture, before 
he scatters the precious seed, in hopes of reaping an abundant 

Impressed with these views, and actuated by these motives, it 
was voted in Jordan Lodge, at a regular meeting held January 1st, 
A. D. 1817, that a committee be appointed to collect, if practica- 
ble, by subscription, from the members of this Lodge, the sum of 
thirty dollars, to be transmitted in the name of the Lodge, to our 
Rev. and worthy brother, Daniel Poor, missionary in the island 
of Ceylon, for the purpose of supporting and educating a youth of 
that country, in the useful arts and sciences, and in the knowledge 
of the true God^ 

Agreeable to these directions, we have, dear brother, obtained 
the sum of thirty dollars, which we have entrusted to the care of 
the Foreign Missionary Society, to be transmitted to you, promis- 
ing, at the same time, if it be in our power, to remit the same sum 
annually, as long as it may be needed, for the purposes above 
mentioned. Not doubting that you will cheerfully and faithfully 
perform this additional service in the cause of philanthropy : 
provided a suitable subject can be found to receive the benefit of 
this charity, and that we have been rightly informed as to the ex- 
pense necessary to carry into execution our wishes. 

It is our desire, dear brother, that you should select from the 
miserable objects around you, an Indian youth of promising tal- 
ents, and teachable disposition, and educate him in the rudiments 
of literature, science, and Christian morality, watch with parental 
care the opening powers of his mind, and prepare him for that em- 
ployment to which his talents are best adapted, and in which he 
may be most extensively useful to his fellow-creatures. If desti- 
tute of a name, or there being no objection to change, you will 
please to name him Jordan Lodge. We confidently trust, that 
you will lose no opportunity of enlightening the mind of this youth, 
the object of our bounty,with the genuine principles of our benev- 
olent institution. We will cordially join in what we doubt not 
will be your daily prayer to the Supreme Architect ofthe uni- 
verse, that he would bestow his blessing on this charity, direct 


jou to a fortunate selection, and enable you to discharge with 
pleasure, fidelity and success, this and every other important du- 
ty which you have taken on yourself to perform; and that you 
and those who maybe favored with your instruction, may become 
burning and shining lights, irradiating all around with the genial 
beams of the all glorious Sun of Righteousness, and finally be ad- 
mitted to the reward of the faithful in the mansions of everlasting 

It will be highly gratifying, dear brother, to receive communi- 
cations from you, on this and every other subject, which you may 
deem interesting to us as men and as Masons. We remain, Rey. 
and dear Sir, Your aftectionate friends and brethren, 

(Signed by) Committee of Jordan Lodge^ 

Danvers, Sept, 2d, 1817. 


TILLAPALLY, OCT. 16tH, 1818. 

To the Committee of Jordan Lodge, 

Dear Brethren — I sincerely regret that I have occasion to 
inform you, that your letter bearing date of Sept. 2d, 1817, did 
not reach me till yesterday. I mention this circumstance, that 
I may at once relieve your minds from any suspicion that may 
naturally have arisen, that your communication was not so 
promptly attended to, as the subject of it requires. As I receiv- 
ed an early notice from private correspondents, of what had been 
done by the members of the Lodge, on the subject of your letter, 
and took measures with reference to it, no evil has arisen from 
the delay of the letter, excepting that the gratification arising 
from my knowing particularly your views and proceedings, has 
been for many months deferred. 

A variety of considerations, dear brethren, conspired to ren- 
der your letter truly acceptable ; as I can assign no particular 
reasons for my being entrusted with the disposal of your charity, 
rather than my brethren in the mission, 1 may regard your letter 
as a pleasing token of respect from my fellow townsmen. 

So far as it may be considered an expression of fraternal aflec- 

APPENDIX. 1 1 1 

tion, in consequence of my being a member of your body, I re- 
cognize it as a genuine effect of the principles of the masoRic es- 

If unsolicited, you have cast your eyes to these ends of the 
earth, and administered assistance to a brother, not particularly 
In need, (though greatly strengthened and encouraged by expres- 
sions of friendship from others) surely we, your brethren, who 
are in this remote region, may indulge the pleasing rei!ection,that 
should we, or our families, be hereafter reduced to want and dis- 
tress, we shall have evidence, that in the members of the masonic 
fraternity, we have something more than friends and brethren, 
by mere profession. 

The information, that the members of your Lodge have vol- 
.untarily agreed to furnish me with $oO annually, for the support 
of a heathen youth, to be taken under my care, is an important 
circumstance, which renders your letter very acceptable. For 
this fruit of their liberality, I wish, through you, to express my 
sincere thanks to the members of the Lodge, and to assure them, 
that I shall have much pleasure in sacredly appropriating their 
charity to the benevolent purpose for which it was designed. — 
That they may form a correct idea of what will be the results of 
their annual donation, I shall in a few words, give some account 
of the state of the children around us and of the manner in which 
those are supported, who are in the boarding school under my 

All the females in this country, with a very few exceptions, 
and a large majority of the male children, are entirely ignorant 
of the letters, and are excluded from almostevery kind of mental 
improvement. But few among the people have advanced farther 
in learning, than merely to be able to read and write on the ola. 
The Brahmins generallj^, are grossly ignorant, and command 
but little respect from the people, excepting what arises from the 
nature of their office. 

There is among the people a large class of conjurers, wizards, 
&c. beside a numerous and regular order of men, called Panda- 
rums, who are beggars by profession, and obtain a subsistence by 

212 • APPENDIX. 

their pretensions to magic, and by various ways, exciting and al- 
laying the superstitious fears of the people. The influence of 
caste on this island is not so great as upon the continent of India; 
yet here the influence of it is great, and very pernicious. Many 
of the lower casts, which are numerous and useful parts of the 
community, are taught to believe, that they were made but to 
serve their superiors ; they are not only excluded from all social 
intercourse with the higher casts, but are denied the privilege of 
entering even the outer gate of the yard of their temples, on their 
festival days. They must stand at a distance to worship the 
idols, and to witness the ceremonies that are made. 

The gods worshipped by this people, are numerous, and the 
characters of the best of them are abominable. The books 
learnt by the boys who attend the heathen schools, and the songs 
which are sung by the Brahmins at the temples, are filled with 
obscene and sanguinary stories concerning their imaginary gods. 
The people here are also professedly worshippers of the deviL — 
Their fear of him is great, and their offerings to him are many. 
In every place numerous temples are erected ; as many as 12 or 
15, I presume, in this parish, in which this diabolical worship is 
oflered ; and finally a majority of the people, bear the names of 
the different demons, which are feared and reverenced among 
them. A moment''s reflection upon the influence which each of 
these particulars I have mentioned, must have upon the rising 
generation, will give you some idea of their ignorance, and moral 
degradation, and shew you what powerful claims they have upon 
all, who can impart to them the means for obtaining light and 
knowledge. Yes, the very names by which this people are call- 
ed, the character of their gods, the nature of their worship, their 
maxims, customs, and practices, unitedly bear testimony to the 
melancholy fact, that this people are in bondage to the prince of 
darkness^ and that none but the Son of God, who was manifested 
to destroy the works of the devil, can save them from being ere 
long united with the infernal hosts, in the regions of woe. Such 
being the state of things, you will easily perceive, that the rising 
generation, whether they are instructed in the heathen schools,or 


left to grow up in ignorance, are daily becoming more and more 
estranged from God, are departing farther and farther into the 
regions of moral darkness and delusion, and the difficulty of their 
deliverance, so far as human agency is concerned, is constantly 

But our hope of accomplishing, in any good degree, the object 
of our mission, depends principally upon our success in instruct- 
ing the youth who are thus unfavorably situated for receiving in- 
struction. We do not, however, despair of success. On the con- 
trary, whether we attend to the nature of the Christian system, 
and consider by whose power it is destined to become instru- 
mental to the subversion of every opposing power, or whether 
we attend to the facts before our eyes, we have much confidence 
in the belief, that should we be permitted to pursue the course 
we have commenced, our hopes of success will not be disappoint- 
ed. At first we were regarded by the people with much caution 
and suspicion. It was difficult for them to believe, that we were 
sincere in our profession of wishing t6 do them good, at so great 
an expense, as is incurred by our mission. But their fears and 
prejudices have been in a considerable degree removed. I have 
been at this place, two years, and have so far succeeded in my 
object, as to establish 7 schools in this and the adjoining villages, 
in which about 300 boys are instructed, under my superinten- 
dence. A majority of these boys, when they became members 
of the schools, commenced learning the Tamul alphabet; of 
course they are instructed in the first rudiments of knowledge. 
More thanhalf of these now employ a part of their time in com- 
mitting to memory Christian Catechisms, and reading portions 
of our Bible in their own language. Such is the state of things 
here, that it is impossible to prevent the boys in these schools 
from learning the principles of heathenism, and their parents do 
much to fortify their minds against the influence of the Christian 
religion. But as there must be a gain to the cause of truth, by 
the dissemination of knowledge, and the prevalence of a spirit of 
inquiry, we hope that something will be effected by the schools 
tliat are established. 


"" Though we hope that some good will result from the schools 
generally, yet next to the stated preaching of the gospel, we 
look to the youth supported upon our premises, for the best fruits 
of our labor. At first, parents Avere very unwilling to entrust 
their children to our care, or permit them to eat upon the land 
we occupy. But I have at length succeeded in taking 20 boys 
as boarders. 

These boys are entirely separated from their parents, and re- 
main with us day and night. I have entered into a written agree- 
ment with the parents, to feed, clothe, and instruct their children, 
on condition that they shall remain under my direction, until in 
my judgment it is expedient for them to leave the school. These 
boys are not only removed from temptations to attend to idola- 
trous rites and ceremonies, but are in the most favorable circum- 
stances for attending to a regular course of instruction. Owing 
to the cUmate and custom of this people, the manner of support- 
ing these boys, is very simple and cheap, almost beyond credi- 
bility. Two or three yards of common cotton cloth, wound round 
the v/aist, is a full, handsome dress for a boy. Two of these 
cloths are sufficient for a year. A pint of rice, which costs one 
cent, given in three parcels, morning, noon and night, together 
with a sauce called Karre, made principally of vegetables and 
spices of the country, is a generous diet. Their bedding is a 
mat, made with the leaves of the palmyra tree, which abound in 
this country. The 20 boys in our family, fare as well, in regard 
to food and clothing, as any other 20 boys that could be selected 
from our schools. The whole expenses of each boy, will be 
short of ^1 2 a year. From this statement you perceive, that the 
aunual donation of the Lodge, is nearly sufficient to supports 
small boys. When I first heard of the donation, I turned my at- 
tention to 3 "boys to be supported by the Lodge. Agreeably to 
your request, I have given the name of" Jordan Lodge,'^'' to one, 
and as you gave me permission to select a name for another, I 
have chosen that of " Danvers.''^ The members of the Lodge 
will please select a name for the third. For the present, less 
than a Spanish dollar per month is sufficient for the support of 


each of these bojs. Hereafter their expenses will be increased. 
By that time it may appear that not more than two of them are 
worthy of a continued support. But should they all appear to 
be promising boys, I trust that the means for supporting them will 
not be wanting;. 

In selecting boys, we prefer those who are very young ; or- 
phans if we can get them, or those who are in low and abject cir= 
cumstances. Such are most of the boys, who are supported by 
us. Contrasting the present state of the three boys, 1 have taken 
on your account, with what it previously was, and looking for= 
ward to what will be the probable effects of a religious education, 
both to themselves, and to othsrs, you cannot, dear brethren,but 
consider your money as invested in a fund, which will yield you 
an increase of more than an hundred fold. 

I might relate to you some pleasing facts, which would shovr 
that the capacity of these boys for receiving instruction is a 
groundof encouragement to us. But I can at present only re- 
mark, that when they are interrogated concerning the benefits 
they wish to derive from us, the substance of their reply is, that 
they want light, more light. There is yet another consideration, 
which renders what has been done hy your fraternity pleasing, 
viz : — As it is an act of benevolence done hy a branch of our fra- 
ternity, towards those v/ho are without it, and may be improved 
as a friendly and useful hint to other Lodges. For it is suggested, 
whether they can better act in character as Free-niasons, than assist in 
erecting in this land of ignorance and darkness, a moral edijice,zi-hic]i 
will be more excellent in its nature, more beautiful in iisproporiicns. 
and infinitely more durable and useful, than the famed monuments of 
antiquity, which are now regarded as splendid ercidences of the opu- 
lence, genius, taste, and public spirit of those who have preceded 2(s in 

It is well known, that our institution is regarded hy many with 
distrust and suspicion. Though nothing surely by way of apol-' 
ogy, is due from us to those who aiTect to despise what they do 
not understand, and who appear to be angrj^, because they arc 
ignorant of those secrets by which the benevolent principles of 


our institution are brought into operation, jet it is desirable that 
the conscientiously fearful should be able to satisfy themselves, 
by what they do see of our doings, as to the nature and moral ten- 
dency of those effects of the principles of our fraternity, which 
they do not sec,and which can be known only to the members of 
our body. How can this object be more easily and effectually 
accomplished, than by the members of our fraternity coming for- 
ward in their associated capacity, to aid those numerous benev- 
olent objects which invite attention, and which must be consider- 
ed as the glory of the present age ? The members of our institu- 
tion are to Le found in every country, and he must have indeed 
a benevolent heart who exercises a right state of feeling toward 
the numerous members of our brotherhood. But it is worthy of 
inquiry, whether we have not been guilty of the practical error of sub- 
stituting our fraternity for the whole human family, I need not re- 
mind you that our institution is founded upon those broad prin- 
ciples of benevolence and morality which the Governor of the 
Universe revealed to men. While those principles permit us to 
reap those particular advantages for w^hich we were associated, 
they aJ^solutelj^ forbid us to regard a part of the human family, 
however numerous, as the whole ; in other words, they do not 
permit us to confine the fruits designed to be produced by our in- 
stitution to the members of our own body. If any one thinks that 
tJie individuals of the fraternity, or the fraternity at large, zoill sus- 
lain a loss, or that they zcill not make a gain, by extending the hand 
of charity, in our associated capacity, to all within our reach, he has 
.yet to karri what is the fundamental principle of Free-masonry, 
Therefor^, whether 1 regard the welfare of the members of our 
institution, or the honor of the institution in view of those, who 
are not connected with it, it is my earnest desire, that it may take 
inch a prominent part in aiding the various benevolent objects 
which claim attention at the present day, as will correspond with 
the antiquity of our establishment, the number and respectabili- 
ty of its members, and its facilities for extending and promoting 
anv brncvcknt object of ireneral concern. Even the symbols 
(il Free-masonry lead us to contemplate the moral proportions, 


and fitness of things, as established by the Divine Architect. 
Permit me, in closings to remind you of the harmony and beauty of 
that inseparable connection between holiness and blessedness, which 
led our Saviour,with repeated asseverations, to declare, as recorded by 
him, whose memory we delight to honor : " Verily, verily, I say unto 
thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom ofGod,'^ 

That we all may be living stones in that glorious temple,which 
the great Master Builder of the Universe is erecting at an infinite 
expense, on the only sure foundation, which is elect and precious, 
is the wish of your affectionate friend and brother, 

(Signed) DANIEL POOR. 

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